Sara Softich,
Pipe Dream
(independent, 2006)

On Pipe Dream, singer/songwriter/musician Sara Softich sings 10 tracks that veer in and around a mixture of Ukrainian, country twang and classical sounds. The whole CD is pretty much a downer with songs about misery, crying, shame, night, death and wizards. Sara's voice sounds very young and unstrung, and she seems to be reaching out for a tone and strength that isn't quite there.

I went to her website; she does bluegrass so well, and I guess she couldn't quite keep the twist out of her voice, and yet this slow stuff just didn't connect with me. This CD has a much more classical sound and where she says "Ireland," I say Ukraine. Gypsy music comes out in "Down in the Cellar" that might be meant for "Fortune Teller."

I get the impression that this CD is just one large melancholy song, and each track isn't an individual piece, but a part that fits in the whole block. Like a deck of cards, the jack is the jack but he's not much good by himself, he needs the rest of the deck to tell him what he is. These songs all lean on each other for support, and together they give the whole CD a purpose.

Here's a quick sampling just to give you the idea of some of the variations:

"Pipe Dream," a moody church dirge, moody voice with harsh piano; "Ireland," a gypsy sound more than Irish, presents an evening lounge voice with a twang; "Songbird," an interesting music combination with a soft, slow fiddle, but the banjo sounds harsh beside it, a type of country crooning deer call; "Shamus," opens with a bit of life, but end with a lot of "shame" as a refrain; "Corraine's Waltz," a pretty one mixing a country sound into classical; "Wizard," opens like a train chuggin' in the distance and turns into an electronic sound.

The mood of the piano throughout is rather heavy and a bit harsh compared to the lighter fiddle sounds. There are some lovely fiddle selections in "Kiss it Goodbye" and "Songbird," and in "Corraine's Waltz" the fiddle and piano work together so well until the country twang throws it off.

If you want a youthful melancholy, light and yet reflective noise, then this CD could fill the bill, but I'm going searching for more from other CD of hers. That sample on her website sounded so good.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Virginia MacIsaac

16 February 2008

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new