Out of Chicago via Rhode Island comes Sarah and the Tall Boys with a southern rock, rockabilly, blues and country influenced CD. A Lifetime of Sin is the latest studio release from the band. The first track Put on that Record delivers in many different ways with its rocking’ southern feel and tinge of country rock with smoking pedal steel playing via Gabriel Stutz. I talked to Sarah on a couple of occasions and she said many people think she sounds like Janis Joplin but I would not agree with that all. As much as I love Janis I truly believe Sarah is a better vocalist, and she has a more soulful voice than Janis.
Put on That Record could easily have be recorded by Delaney and Bonnie and this is who Sarah reminds me of, Mrs. Bonnie Bramlett with her soulful, gut wrenching vocals with the southern roots bubbling to the top, though Bonnie had a more gospel feel, while Sarah has more blues.
The second track Texas is a pure blues rock number, steaming with T. Bone Walker guitar licks, while Sarah takes the role of blues singer ale Bessie Smith, Koko Taylor but with a more refined sound.Impossible Love is the next track and it to follows the blues feel but with a more country twist to the sound that is simply warm and inviting.
My Last Two Dollars is a straight up country rock romp that shines like a blazing sun. This song shows the versatile style of this band with Sarah sounding more like Brenda Lee and the band shines with fine playing from guest J. Ryan Hinshaw Fiddle and Ben Wright Banjo a bluegrass inspired romp.
Sharp Cutting Wings has that alt country feel that artist like Lucinda Williams have with their roots based sound and their individual vocal styles. It’s obvious that this is a Williams’ inspired track and it fits Sarah like a glove.
On Everybody’s Somebody, they again visit the southern soul sound of artist such as Delaney and Bonnie. As one listens to Sarah you know she has appreciation for older music from her father’s record collection, in our interview she mentions The Band and J.J Cale as music in her dad’s record collection that she really likes. The roots are plain to see with Sarah and the Tall Boys, there is no doubt about it this is a fine singer with an excellent band that consists of various drummers and the steady Dan Allen on guitar who provides excellent leads of various styles though out the CD proving he is as accomplished on guitar as Sarah is on vocals. Ian Crossman, the bassist is the steady backbone of the band, never overplaying, just keeping it rock steady.
Most Days is a mix of country and blues, much the way Hank Williams did on some of his tracks. Feeling each word, each note, as the pain drips from her lips Sarah feels the pain for all those who listen. Passion is something few artists can capture on disc, yet Sarah easily makes you feel her pain with her passion and soul.
Jonesin For Little Rhody is a Texas swing number that Bob Willis would have been proud to play. The petal steel swings and slides along, while the band plays with as much vigor as Sarah sings. Get Liquored Up With Me has a great southern rock, blues rock feel to it, a bit of soul and bit of blues and a whole lot of fun. Taking the music and molding it into their sound. Eric Quincy Tate was excellent southern rock band that also did this with their different combination of styles and Sarah and the Tall Boys are equal to the task.
Big Old Crazy World returns to the roots of country rock with a Gram Parson and the Grievous Angels with Emmy Lou Harris style edge. With each track Sarah and the band delivery song after song of Southern Rock, Country Rock, Blues Rock, as good as it gets from any band that these ears have heard in many years.
So here is an artist who should be winning Grammy awards that very few people have heard of. It want take Sarah and the Band much longer to break wide open, so now is your chance to get on the bandwagon they have three albums available and all are worth owning. The live CD is the latest release.
Review by Vernon Tart