I walked into my local record shop recently amidst the Christmas craziness in search of some soothing Eva Cassidy sounds – the Songbird album fixed on my mind. After flipping through pre-loved CD’s and vinyl LP’s I walked out armed to tackle December, striking gold with the Songbird album and another little gem, Sarah Shah’s Into the Sun EP, unaware I had found a musical diptych of beauty.
With only three tracks, Into the Sun may be sparse on songs but it contains fifteen minutes of lush thoughtful compositions mixed and mastered by Govinda Doyle, who co-produced Angus and Julia Stones’ Big Jet Plane. The first track All Me begins with a gentle strumming guitar which crescendos in emotion, while a second acoustic guitar provides a melodic interplay that weaves in and out of Sarah’s verses. The lyrics are comforting and earnest; “I say what’s on my mind /When I’m sad I often cry…. you can trust me with your life… that’s all me.” What makes the feel of this song and the other tracks immediately interesting is that it is free of band formula sounds – you know, those ‘look at me’ instruments that can often override a delicate voice. Into the Sun shares it’s notations with white spaces, vocal pauses, humble guitar, tumbling piano notes and Sarah’s incredible voice – it is all fabulous.
Over five minutes in length, Time in the Sun is accompanied by Sarah’s acoustic guitar arpeggios and tinkling piano embellishments. What’s mesmerising is that Sarah Shah’s voice sounds uncannily like Eva Cassidy, her delicately soaring vocals give this song a generosity of spirit that you can’t help but keep playing over and over again. The radio friendly Matty’s Song is juxtaposed with a Megan Washington-like melancholy. The only instruments are acoustic guitar and an emotive lilting violin played with composed coolness by Keira Hazen. Into The Sun contains music that silences a carload of kids on their way to the beach and pacifies parents on road trips.
Sarah Shah’s 2015 EP release is available at Rare Groove, Nobby Beach and at sarahshah.org
You can catch Sarah playing next at Café D’Bar, Point Danger, Friday 11th March