While I’ve run across Sarah playing several times at Grey Fox and been amazed by her talent I’ve haven’t been all that familiar with her music. Follow Me Down is Sarah”s sophomore follow up to her acclaimed Song In My Head debut. And as with her first album Sarah co-produced with Gary Paczosa. Gary produced Chris Thile, Allison Krauss, and John Prine.
She’s also joined on this album by an all-star list of special guests including Jerry Douglas, The Punch Brothers and Bela Fleck.
On this new album Sarah follows her muse far and wide, from the wonderfully eerie old-time sound of “Annabelle Lee,” her take on Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, through the newgrass boundary-stretching opening pair “Run Away” and “Come Around.” Somewhat ironically, I find the most traditional sounding song on the album is Sarah’s beautiful cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells” which Sara truly makes her own. “Old Smitty” splits “Floating in the Balance” and the Radiohead cover “The Tourist” and allows the band to soar along on a catchy instrumental. Besides Radiohead I find touches of Nickel Creek and even New Grass Revival here and there. The all-stars on this album add a familiar ring to the new tunes. The album closes with the instrumental “Peace”, which Sarah has been working on since she was twelve, and finished in college - I can only say it was well worth the wait!
Not the last song on the album, but the one that I would take as the most heartfelt, is “My Muse.” The maturity of the songs and playing on this album far belie Sarah’s 20 years, and I find it more than fitting that she pays tribute to her muse, It will be interesting to see where her muse takes her in the future. I expect she’ll find great success no matter which way the road turns.
Sugar Hill Records
Note: Here is a ">YouTube video of Sarah playing "Angeline the Baker."