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Sara K.

WATER FALLS (Stockfisch) • Sara K.

I've been watching this artist a few years. I was interested in a couple of recordings I'd run into on the Chesky label, because of the style she was playing. I'm kind of amazed by the relatively tiny number of jazzy singer songwriters out there, when so many play folk, blues, or country. It's actually a tricky area for those of us that do like to write and play jazzier material. Sometimes it's not folky enough for the folk crowd, and it's not usually jazz to the jazz crowd. Of course, if it's jazzy pop, that's okay--Sade, Rickie Lee, Norah Jones. (That's right, they all happen to be beautiful women--some would call that a pop prerequisite. Sara K. is a very winsome person as well, for the record.) But lately I hear a few more records in this sub-genre (call it folk jazz) and believe that we need more of it, and it seems to be finding an audience. Erika Luckett is a fine artist in this category, and I hear Louise Taylor's new CD will also be on the jazzy side.

But let's talk about the free spirited and very gifted Sara K. She's brave, goes where she wants to go, and she takes you with her. That takes conviction, that seduction. Her lyrics are very unique to my ears, emotional and imagistic woman truth that goes down smoothly but is powerful medicine. She's been in Santa Fe for a long time, and there's so much of that environment in her sound. Sara plays a four string guitar. The guitar she got from her sister as a young dreamer only had four; and so a style began, reality rather than necessity the mother of invention. From the artist:

"I've been playing the four-string since around 1972. Taught myself on a busted guitar that was tuned backwards. Now I have 3 variations. Am having one custom made in Germany right now. The bridge will have 2 sets of grooves--one for nylon, the other for Elixirs (sort of like brass wound). It's tuned to an open A. The register is somewhere between bass and baritone. Mostly, it's about having an instrument that simplifies the chord patterns and structures. At the beginning, I just needed something to write on and sing with. But, over all this time, it's become a part of my sound. And soul."

You can hear this unusual and beautiful approach to the guitar on "Destination" on the Listen page. Throughout Water Falls, Sara K is accompanied by stellar musicians, including the amazing Chris Jones on guitars, who tours with her. Martin Huch's hollow neck dobro is also exemplary. Guenter Pauler's Stockfisch Records is a fascinating outfit that we've been aware of for some years. Check out their website, we'll be covering more of their releases. We like this record very much, and wish Sara K. well.
• Frank Goodman

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