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Powerful Country-Tinged Autobiography
Sara Petite - Road less Traveled
JULY 4, 2017
Eleven years from her debut, Tiger Mountain, the title of Sara Petite’s latest album is at odds with the miles of experience in her voice. What had once been a musical pastime turned into a sanity-saving career choice, that in turn transformed her personal struggles into artistic fuel. This latest set explores intimate themes of restlessness, desire, discovery, love, loss and recovery, and though the shuffling rhythms and moody horns suggest Johnny Cash, there’s a delicate vulnerability in Petite’s voice that Cash’s baritone couldn’t have sustained. Petite makes palpable the broken heart of “Getting Over You” with lyrical detail whose innocuousness turns out to be its revelation. She turns in an original drinking song with “Monkey on My Back,” and finds self-confidence in the surreal Tom Petty-influenced dream of “Good 2 B Me.” Recorded with her band (who get a terrific showcase on the swampy “Sweet Pea Patch”), rather than the Nashville studio hands of her earlier releases, the album has a more organic and exploratory feel - both of which complement an artist who’s fully come into her own as an autobiographical writer. If you’ve been following Petite’s career, you’ll be pleased with her continuing growth as an artist, and if you’re new, this is a great place to jump in. [©2017 Hyperbolium]
Album review: Road Less Traveled by Sara Petite
It’s not hard to fall immediately in thrall to Sara Petite’s sound. From the first (title) song of her new album, Road Less Traveled, the only possible response is a big smile, a tapping foot and a willingness to go wherever she’s taking us. There is a jauntiness to the track that is infectious, but the key is Petite’s voice: round and warm even as it delivers a wink and a nod to the listener.
This is not to suggest that the whole album runs in this vein – it does not, as Petite is a well-rounded artist who can also deliver sadness, reflectiveness and pathos, and it all clearly comes from the heart. Mind you, even the break-up song ‘Getting Over You’ has a swinging beat, so while Petite explores the end of a relationship she also sounds like she doesn’t regret it. And ‘I Will Rise’ is not a self-pitying rumble through hard knocks but, rather, a proclamation.
The musical style of these songs is swampy country: the tunes are laced with banjo, horns make an appearance, and there’s some prominent electric guitar as well. Country suits Petite – and so does rock and blues. These are all genres of music that do not support sugar-coating and Petite certainly sounds like she is not interested in anything other than the truth. Happily, she has found a way to meld them into a sound that is gloriously hers. She sounds like she belongs in an LA bar as much as a Nashville stage, and she could also sit by the side of a road with a guitar and churn out tunes for passers-by. She has a drive to communicate that goes right along with her willingness to sing from the heart, and accordingly she will find audiences everywhere.
Road Less Traveled is out now.
SARA PETITE - ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Heartbreak and happiness share the front seat with Sara Petite as she makes her way along Road Less Traveled, the latest release from the SoCal songstress. Sara Petite catches air on south of the border horns, choir loft organ swells and harmonies, chugging punk rock guitar riffs, and a salvation-seeking story line as she mounts a pulpit soapbox to inspire with “I Will Rise”. Road Less Traveled moves over the highways and byways of California Country music, sampling sounds of the west coast. The album hums farmland Folk as it huddles down in “Sweet Pea Patch” for a little loving, hangs on for a ride on a Rock’n’Roll Country hot flash in “It Was Just a Kiss”, and puts a desert dry rattle underneath the traintrack beats of “Blackbird” as the Sara Petite Band picks and plucks twang to ward off the rain falling in “Sweet Pea Blues”.
Making her way down the west coast, Sara Petite left Washington state to set up base in San Diego, California. Her natural Country vocals find a comfortable home in the songs of Road Less Traveled, settling in a classic story line for “You Don’t Care at All”, wrapping in the hot breaths of Mexicali horns for the confessions of “Getting Over You”, confidently riding the rhythms through a Tom Petty dream in “Good 2 Be Me”, and momentarily sniffing an island breeze of pedal steel sways before knocking back a few shots in “Monkey on My Back”. Sara Petite follows the call of Mexican melodies for the title track as she teases and taunts all the ‘travelers, truckers, troubadours” she encounters on the “Road Less Traveled”.
3X3: SARA PETITE ON LOVE POTIONS, FUN RUNS, AND RAINY DAYS
May 23rd, 2017 / BY BGS STAFF
Artist: Sara Petite
Hometown: Sumner, WA (now resides in San Diego, CA)
Latest Album: Road Less Traveled
Personal Nicknames: SWEET PEA
If you could go back (or forward) to live in any decade, when would you choose?
Right now is the perfect time.
Who would be your dream co-writer?
Lori McKenna, Brandy Clark, Patty Griffin, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty
If a song started playing every time you entered the room, what would you want it to be?
"Love Potion #9" from Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream album. It is really sexy music. I would be wearing something really slinky and sexy -- when I walked in, everyone would look at me! I would come in with a big sexy "you want me" smile, then I would start to strut my way across the room and I would trip and fall and make everyone laugh! And it would happen every time that song came on!
What is the one thing you can’t survive without on tour?
Toothbrush, clean underwear, and socks
What are you most afraid of?
I'm not sure -- there isn't really anything to be afraid of anymore. I would like to die the same day as my twin sister. It would probably be too difficult on this planet without her. All the things I thought would kill me or wreck me forever haven't. I'm still here, still breathing, and have a smile most of the time!
Who is your favorite superhero?
I just did a fun run and made my own superhero costume. I was Super Sweet Pea. I had a sequined S on my chest, a purple cape I sewed flowers on, and I ran with a bunch of fake colorful hydrangeas in my hand. We ran down through canyons, neighborhoods. I fell on my ass a few times down the hills. It was a lot of fun until people started exposing themselves -- very uncomfortable! I didn't know that was the type of club I joined, yikes! I am totally bummed not to be in the running club anymore because next week was going to be the Big Lebowski run, and me and my best friend were going to run in bathrobes holding a 10-foot joint, whilst partaking in our own joint smoking. I have decided to possibly make my own run club or join the Sierra Club in hopes for more of a PG-13 environment. I was only there to run, drink, and wear my superhero costume, man!
Pickles or olives?
PICKLES! I went to a restaurant the other day, and they were out of pickles. How can someone be out of pickles? I ordered a cheeseburger, extra rare with extra pickles.
Which primary color is the best -- blue, yellow, or red?
Not sure. It probably depends how I feel.
Which is worse -- rainy days or Mondays?
I love rain. I grew up in Washington. And I love Mondays. They are new beginnings!
Mesmerizing New Album From Sara Petite
Sara Petite - Road less Traveled
BY JAY MINKIN
MARCH 13, 2017
When I’m not spinning vinyl on the stereo or listening to a ménage of tracks while on the computer, I find comfort in playing new albums while driving the highway. So it’s apropos that I fell in love with a new release from Sara Petite titled Road Less Traveled which will hit record store shelves May 19th. In somewhat of a true classic movie moment, I felt like I needed to smoke a cigarette after spending an intimate first listen with this stunning recording.
It’s been a rough go since the passing of her partner John Kuhlken and the grieving steps to make Circus Comes To Town in 2013. “Everything went south for a long time” says Petite. “I was trying to stay numb so I wouldn’t lose it. Music was the one thing nobody could take away from me.” With The Road Less Traveled, Petite takes the pieces of her broken heart and glues them back together, with just a few scars to remind you of what life has thrown at her. Originally from Sumner, Washington and now residing in San Diego, Petite’s fifth release was recorded in Escondido, CA at Chaos Records with Christopher Hoffee. The process was relaxing and creative for Petite using her bandmates instead of going to Nashville alone to cut demos with hired hands. Besides Hoffee (Wurlitzer, percussion), her outfit includes Erik Olson (guitar), Wade Mauer (bass), Mike Kastner (drums), and multi-instrumentalist Steve Peavey (pedal steel, dobro, banjo, mandolin) to mesh with Petite’s acoustic guitar and sweet vocals.
Represented by KG Music Press, the autobiographical self-produced twelve tracks has a vintage mix of classic country with a little Tijuana Brass as you’ll hear in the train beat title song featuring Phil Jordon on trumpet. The first single that will catch your attention is “It Was Just A Kiss”, followed by the western guitar riffs of “Blackbird”. Another song getting airplay is “Getting Over You” that was inspired by her love of Tammy Wynette and Herb Alpert. The Appalachia foot stompin’ song “Patchwork Quilt” and the lovely “Sweet Pea Blues” features guest musicians Melissa Dow on fiddle and Ken Dow on upright bass. Petite channels her Tom Petty soul into “Good 2 B Me” after having a surreal dream where she looked in the mirror and saw T.P. instead of her own reflection. She also pays homage to The Beat Farmers, with a cow-punk inspired song called “Monkey On My Back” about taking too many swigs on the bottle. Already a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Contest, the lone torch song ballad, “I Will Rise”, lyrically inspires one to persevere that musically shines a light on each member of the band. The final single, “Sweet Pea Patch” is a playful song that lures the listener into a mesmerizing jam session timing out over nine minutes long. The reprise of the title song closes out the album as a front porch acoustic picking number. It’s as though the troubadour has thankfully survived her long journey, but knows that tomorrow she’ll be starting another adventure.
Keep an eye on this little sweet pea singer/songwriter as 2017 looks to be a breakout year for her with Road Less Traveled. Make time to catch her when she happens to pass through your hometown.
Four-time winner of San Diego’s Best Country/Americana Band, Sara Petite returns with her latest, Road Less Traveled, on May 19th. The journey begins with the jaunty banjo and horn-laden title track on which the raspy voiced singer proclaims herself a free spirit even though she may have a love, “Where I’m bound heaven only knows” and leads into “It Was Just A Kiss” a classic country ballad about how a kiss frequently leads to something more. Themes of love and heartache flow throughout the record particularly on “Blackbird” a dark shuffler about desire, “Do you know what I know/That following your heart can lead you down a desperate road”, the Tex-Mex accented “Getting Over You” and “You Don’t Care At All” which captures real truth as to why leaving sometimes is better than staying. In addition to her way with a phrase, Road Less Traveled displays Petite’s ability to shift between musical styles with ease. There’s the irresistible and uplifting “Patchwork Quilt”, the truthfully somber “Sweet Pea Blues” where she notes, “Trying to smile in the pouring rain is like try to whistle in hurricane,” the rockabilly groove of “Monkey On My Back” and the sweetly sexy “Sweet Pea Patch.” Petite closes out with the bluesy anthem “I Will Rise” and a reprise of “Road Less Traveled” reminding us that the road her wandering heart loves stretches far ahead - just the way she likes it.