Some artists don’t mind existing in the shadows for the bulk of their professional lives. They don’t care about advancing the evolutionary trajectory of music, they simply just want to play whatever is trending within their scene at the moment. In no way am I trying to run these artists down as invalid or somehow completely irrelevant, but when juxtaposed beside the ingenuity and creativity of a singer/songwriter like Sarah Clanton, one has to wonder why they chose the profession they did when they’ve got to compete with talent like hers. Sarah’s star burns so bright that not even the darkest of shadows could smother its flame, and in her brand new record Here We Are, she dishes out some of her most searing songs for us to enjoy in high definition.
Growing up in a strict religious household, Sarah Clanton found a way to develop her relationship with a greater power in the universe not through church attendance but through the vibrancy of songcraft. Since the age of nine, she’s been honing her skills as a cellist and singer, eliminating any frills from her sound and magnifying her most unique attributes. Her devotion to the music is obvious from the moment we press play on track one, and like a conductor leading an orchestra she feverishly directs the tempo and energy of the songs any which way she pleases. Her confidence is infectious, and by the time we finish Here We Are we feel like we’ve just been administered a shot of adrenaline straight to our soul.
When an artist gives all of themselves over to their medium, the resulting product is potently emotional and relatable on levels that go much deeper than just lyrics or catchy hooks. “Silver Lining” wouldn’t need words to convey all of the feelings that are blistering the inner lining of Sarah Clanton’s heart, and the same can be said for “Come and Find Me” or “Bang Bang!.” There isn’t a single track in the entirety of Here We Are that sounds like it doesn’t belong or was added to fill time; on the contrary, Clanton’s excellent utilization of space in this record makes it a tight, easy listen that could be played on repeat without getting super monotonous.
As a culture, we really need more music that goes off of the beaten path in the way that Sarah Clanton does with Here We Are. She’s not afraid to get a little zany with her music, and her willingness to experiment has bred nothing but lucrative material so far. Whatever she’s doing to make music this alluring, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I’m sure that she’s going to continue to polish her sound as the years and decades go by, but as far as this year goes, she rules supremely over every other active artist in the western world. Clanton has a number of live shows coming up this fall that will likely sell out very quickly after the release of Here We Are, so if I were you I’d do my best to secure a chance to see her play this set live while it’s still fresh and new to the world.