The Blistering Sun (2006)
The 15 song album "focuses on the rare moments where action follows instinct, without procrastination." Fittingly, the cover-art depicts a colorful, super-heroine-esque image of Sage staring unflinchingly at the sun.
ALRIGHT, OK, the first cut on the record, is an upbeat swing number that Sage wanted to sound as though it could be its own type of 1950s dance, like th e twist or the bop. "When I wrote it I was thinking about how often I make diluted decisions simply because I don't trust my initial instincts. I wanted the music to sound peppy and tongue-in-cheek, 'cause it's a hell of a lot easier to play a song about transcending your own weakness night after night when you can envision Ellen dancing along to it and smiling!"
FEATHERWOMAN is a energetic anthem celebrating individuality and independence. Its opening lyric asks "what are the things that I do best that nobody else can do?" and is aptly followed by what might be Sage's most ambitious story-song yet, the driving, Eastern European flavored "93 Maidens". Based on the letters of Warsaw teenager Chaya Feldman, whose entire class swallowed poison rather than submit to Nazi torture, it's the song that Sage admits means the most to her "because I've wanted to sing about this brave young woman ever since I read about her ten years ago." When she read her story, Sage says Chaya and her classmates "seemed like the ultimate feminists to me, despite the tragic context in which they were forced to reveal that strength."
Other highlights on the album include the R&B ballad VIOLET OR BLUE, the jazzy LONELY STREETS (a Peggy Lee inspired ode to solitude in the big city that Rachael penned "after one too many crushes I never should've acted on"), and BURNING WITCH, a dynamic jazz-drenched number in which Sage spells out the album's personal-meets-political creed: 'cause you're a burning witch / when you can't shape destiny".
Produced by Sage, recorded by John Shyloski and mixed by Kevin Killen (Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush), THE BLISTERING SUN features trumpet player Russ Johnson (Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin), drummer Dean Sharp (Moby, Jane Siberry), percussionist Doug Yowell (Duncan Shiek, Suzanne Vega), guitarist Jack Petruzelli (Rufus Wainwright, Gavin DeGraw), cellist Julia Kent (Antony & The Johnsons, Leona Naess), violinist Allison Cornell (Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson), organist Julie Wolf (Dar Williams) and bassist Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco).
1. Alright, OK
3. 93 Maidens
5. Violet or Blue
6. Lonely Streets
8. Hit Song
9. Burning Witch
13. Anything, Anywhere
14. C'mon Over
“Sage - poet, singer, dancer and keyboardist - takes her sweet soprano from jazz-pop love musings to passionate, accordion-laden folk outpourings that decry oppression.” - The Village Voice
“A uniquely rebellious style that is as quirky as it is passionate” - Keyboard Magazine
"With a crack team of players drawn from the crème de la crème of contemporary pop artists (Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones, Moby, Duncan Sheik, Gavin DeGraw) Sage’s bark is as big as her bite on 'The Blistering Sun.'” - Amplifier
“Pop music isn’t crafted as carefully and expertly as this anymore and Sage is the stitch between the great rock and pop traditions of the past…Highly recommended.” - Billboard.com
Full press kit here.