Canadian folk singer Sarah Jane Scouten returns with her fourth album, Confessions, another good collection of well crafted songs. Her highly emotional writing spans across a wide range of subjects and her sound mixes classic folk with more modern elements to good effect.
The standout track is lead single Ballad Of A Southern Midwife, actually a reworking of an old song, written some ten years ago and included on Scouten’s 2011 debut album. Feeling that the song’s subject of women’s fight to live on their own terms regardless of religious intolerance and sexual oppression is even more relevant today, Scouten recorded a new version with much more bite. A lively organ part gives the track a bluesy feel, the lyrics forcefully sung.
Show Pony has a more traditional acoustic folk sound, with a lovely slide guitar part to add a country edge. Love song You Are The Medicine, explaining that true love is more medicine than drug, is gentle and endearing. You Still Love Him, Kid is a beautifully written track, and sees Scouten taking her sister’s voice to sing to herself. The song is tender, yet its message is compelling.
The more strident and bass heavy sound of Rattlesnake comes closer to rock than folk, containing some very good electric guitar work. Breaking and Entering is also powerful, a lengthy extended metaphor running to six minutes. Crossing The Bar ends the album in style with a lively cover of a traditional sounding song that sets a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson to music.
It is telling that Sarah Jane Scouten chose to call this album Confessions. She describes it as a break up record, but the often very personal subject matter, especially the family aspects, makes it so much more. Her excellent songwriting provides the basis for a very good album full of emotion and, in places brutal, honesty.
Label: Light Organ
Release: 22 November 2019