Rachel Sage firmly establishes herself as a versatile songwriter as well as a knowledgeable and capable producer on Ballads and Burlesque. Employing a number of accomplished studio musicians, Sage aptly creates a focused sound, to which she adds multiple keyboard parts through the use of a grand piano and a Wurlitzer electric piano. Sage’s voice fits the generic female singer/songwriter mold cemented by Tori Amos, Sara McLachlan and Alanis Morrisette. Her songs, however, transcend traditional female pop, at times reminiscent of Marc Cohn or Bruce Hornsby.
Lyrically, Sage explores a range of topics including lesbian love, on “Leah” and the torture of living a pained life on the tantalizing “Bravest Fear,” which she dedicates to late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. The album displays a raw quality that is undoubtedly Sage’s doing, as she produced the entire disc without any outside assistance. Sage is a gifted performer, though she lacks unbridled emotion at times, while bearing her soul on some of the more passionate numbers.
Archived article by Scott Eisman
Sun Staff Writer