SARAH LOU RICHARDS
Saturday, January 26, 2013
@ Drifters in East Nashville, TN
While the county music mainstream landscape has shifted in major ways and seems to be more focused on pop country at the moment than anything, there is a still a sound that is working its way through the underground and biding its time until the landscape changes again and welcomes it with open arms.
Balancing somewhere between an alt. folk sound that combines with the feel of classic country in the solid storytelling ability, comes Sarah Lou Richards.
The Nashville resident via Eau Claire, WI and Connecticut spends most of her time on the road bringing her very solid songs and humor filled shows to people across the nation, but on this rare occasion she made a stop at Drifter’s in East Nashville to give the folks in her own backyard a chance to see what the rest of the country already knows.
Though a cold night in a tent that was only semi-heated, a solid crowd was on hand none the less braving the weather, to hear her roll through a 40 minute set chalked full of a little something for everyone.
From the moment she opened with “Nothin’ Left,” it was evident that Sarah Lou Richards strong and powerful voice was going to be the center of the performance as the music simply sat there subtly to accompany her rather than to carry the songs.
Her topics throughout the night ranged from the relatable downsides of love on songs like “It’s Not Me” and “Lovin’s For Fools,” to a humorous duet on “Dear John Dear Abby” that saw Richards duet with her guitarist in a tongue and cheek like fashion, to the familiarity of well placed covers like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and her set closer, Tom Waits “Come On Up To The House.”
But it was when Richards used her story telling ability that she showed her strong suit the most. “Darling Marissa” offered a chance to look at the simple reminders that show us what are the really important things in life while “Riding With Grace” may just be one of the best story songs I have heard in a good while as she presented a deep and powerful message about how being let down in life can affect one throughout it.
Besides the songs and her vocal ability, which were more than enough to attract attention, she and her band shared a sense of humor with one another and the crowd that really made you feel like you were just hanging out with your friends.
While it is the familiarity and depth of her sound that will draw you in, try as you might, you really just can’t put your finger on who it is she sounds like which more than plays to her advantage as it is her uniqueness that makes her a relevant artist that stands out. Combine this with her ability to carry a show from a personal standpoint and you have an artist that is worth keeping an eye on.
Though her sound falls somewhere in the underground at the moment, it is going to be a matter of time before the mainstream opens back up and begins to accept more than they currently do and when that happens I suspect that Sarah Lou Richards could be at the front of the pack.