Mississippi Pizza Pub was treated to New York delight, Rachael Sage on a beautiful Fall evening. Portland was the second to last stop on Rachael’s “Blue Roses” tour before heading to Europe to open for Judy Collins. She will return to New York just in time for the album’s release on November 4th. Often traveling with her full band, this time she performed as a duo with drummer/percussionist, Andy Mac.
A Winning Introduction to Rachael Sage
On a stage decorated with red and turquoise boas complimenting her blue accented hair, long black dress, sequined heels, sultry personality, and Andy’s shirt, she sat at the keyboard, snapping her fingers to the happy beat of “Lonely Streets.” One quickly realizes, however, that this happy sounding song has a twist, “I walk along in these lonely streets, I walk along so I can feel my breath/’cause you were the needle inside my pillow and you were the beetle inside my mouth/you were the fun I should have done without.”
Playing the album’s title track, “Blue Roses”, this song was inspired by a florist shop in New York & London that delivers blue roses. “He gave her bouquets of blue roses, she held them upside-down they dried, he came and went like wild horses, and she cried”.
Playing the guitar on the next couple of songs, “Be My Hope” is a song that we could all sing about, “invisible light, shine down on me/would you be my hope on a Saturday night/invisible light won’t you set me free.”
Singing about surviving in the music business, “Big Star” asks the question, “do you want to be a big star”, then tells us that “it’s o.k. to say yes.” Trying to make it in this business is something Rachael has worked hard at. She has her own label, MPress Records, and has shared a stage with many well known names in the industry: Judy Collins, Sarah McLachlan, A Great Big World, Colin Hay, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, The Animals, and Ani DiFranco.
For all those who have experienced love gone wrong and wanted some sort of retribution, “Barbed Wire” fits the bill. “This time you came around I only wanted to break you down/I only wanted to watch you fall apart/I only wanted your guard to fall/I only wanted to shake your hidden heart/I only wanted to drown you with desire.”
To her surprise, one of her songs garnered quite a following since it was featured on the reality show, ‘Dance Moms.’ “Bravedancing”, “You came to me like lightening on a picket fence, shattering my illusion with shockingly bad sense, and I may never feel the same, but I won’t always feel this pain/so let faith fall on me now I’m gonna be here til the end/ if you do not see me bend, then you know I will have been bravedancing.” The girls have taken such a liking to Sage’s music that eight more songs have been featured in their dance numbers.
Another song featured on “Dance Moms”, “Happiness”, is a song that lives up to its name, “Everything we wanted is ours for the dreaming/everyone is honest where they were deceiving, doors are open when once they were closing/fear is melted where once it was frozen/oh oh happiness.” This song is the first single from “Blue Roses” and references, Maddie Ziegler’s character in the reality series.
She kept Andy on his toes a few times with her choice of words in a friendly banter as she told the story of sitting at the dinner table as a child having to do flashcards, or read from a page of the New York Times. To all you parents out there, it worked for she is quite the linguist! When Rachael was a student at Stanford, Ani DiFranco used to perform in the cafeteria. She was so blown away by Ani that she would say if she were ever a rock star, that’s who she’d want to be like.
Closing the show with one of my favorites from the new album, “Love’s a Liar”, “if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned, where was I when they taught that lesson/So many candles, so much wax, love’s a liar.”
You never know what you’re going to get when you go to a show of an artist that you’re not familiar with. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but this was definitely one of the winners. Rachael is an accomplished classical musician, with a theater and dance background, and she knows how to please her audience. In this case, we were a small one which was lucky for us for we got to have Rachael all to ourselves in what felt like a private, elegant, living room concert. However, she is so talented, wonderful, and humorous that you wanted more people to be there to share this new discovery with. She doesn’t know when she will return to Portland, but she will be back, and when that time comes, be sure and get a ticket. This is one lady you do not want to miss! To find out more about her upcoming cd release, and future tours, visit her website.
Blue Roses will be released in the U.S. Nov. 4, 2014 on MPress Records. From now until November 4th, the new album is available for pre-sale here. A portion of the proceeds will go to Musicians on Call, an organization that provides live music to the bedsides of hospital patients that wouldn’t be able to see it otherwise.