Sarah Harmer - You Were Here

Sarah Harmer
You Were Here

(Zoe/Rounder)

The Music Box's #10 album for 2000

First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2000, Volume 7, #12

Written by John Metzger

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After creating a minor stir in Canada as the lead singer for Weeping Tile, Sarah Harmer quietly stepped out on her own. Her debut Songs for Clem was meant as a Christmas gift for her father, but after its release, the collection of cover songs drew tremendous praise from critics throughout the country. Last Fall, Harmer returned to the studio to record a set of original material, which eventually became her first U.S. solo album ó the stunningly beautiful pop-folk hybrid You Were Here.

Harmerís music draws from a long list of female singer-songwriters  ó Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde, Suzanne Vega, Natalie Merchant, and Edie Brickell to name a few. Yet, rather than merely replicate their accomplishments, Harmer uses them as touchstones upon which to develop her own style. Consequently, her music is instantly familiar. Yet, it is also also fresh and vibrant ó forming the next logical step in this regal lineage.

Like her predecessors, Harmerís voice can be paradoxically bold, confident, and vulnerable all at once, and with it she conveys her emotional turmoil without sounding overly distraught. The songs on You Were Here are largely about relationships ó whether itís the angst of one that just isnít destined to work or the anticipation of something new ó and her poetic lyrics are unquestionably personal. Yet, she presents them in a way that is completely universal, giving her songs a simple elegance by augmenting them with acoustic and electric guitars, clarinets, cello, upright bass, drum loops, and dobro.

Suffice it to say that Harmer is a welcome breath of fresh air amidst the sea of overwrought, untalented female artists that have plagued the music industry throughout the latter half of the í90s. Itís a tough business, and unfortunately some of the most deserving musicians never get their break. You Were Here should present Harmer with the opportunity to get hers ó and with a little luck she will. starstarstarstar

You Were Here is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2000 The Music Box