7 February 2016

Sarah Dashew - Roll Like a Wheel

On this review I will be looking at the third album from Sarah Dashew, now I would be telling fibs if I say I had heard of Sarah Dashew before I received the emails asking to review her (there has been a couple).  So this section is going to be based mostly on what information I can find on the Sarah Dashew website, the Sarah Dashew Facebook and the press release that came with the album.  The LA native was born in 1972, with her debut album 'Jealous Girl' coming out in 1992 which had song feature on the TV show 'My Name Is Earl'.  In 2010 she released 'Where I Belong' which she started to write after she contributed music to the 2008 film 'Blues'.  The album also had two song picked from it for a playlist created by 'Ugly Betty'/'How to Train a Dragon' star America Ferrera.  Since then she has also released an EP called 'Something in The Weather' and during various points she has toured with the likes of Suzanne Vega, Michelle Shocked and Cowboy Junkies.  So there has been successes along the way, but we are not interested in the past at this point because it is time to see if the wheel is rolling or if it has a flat tyre (sorry for the obvious pun).

The title track "Roll Like A Wheel" starts the album, which can be best described as gentle; it is a song with a little Latino touch to the guitar, a Caribbean sound to the keyboards that is mixed with a slice of blues and it sounds like a laid back version of "Dance The Night Away" by The Mavericks.  It is a song that might not be my cup of tea, but it is not bad either and Ms Dashew has a nice voice so the song is gentle on the ears.  "Estas Son Las Cosas" is a song that brings a Mariachi feeling to the album as it is sung in Spanish, it has a holiday feeling to it and I will be honest I have no real idea what the song is about (sadly I was taught in an era where learning another language was not considered practical, still trying to learn French at the moment).  It is another song which is good at what it is doing being a song designed to get the audience dancing and clapping along, but sadly it is not one I would listen to normally; it is not doing anything wrong, but it is not something I would stretch myself to listen to either.  "Free Ride" is the third track from the album is a song about being strong and not letting someone take advantage of you, it’s about standing on your own two feet and letting everyone know that you are not going to be moved if you do not want to be.  It is a blues based song, it has a solo that some bands would kill for, a great performance on the organ and a strong set of lyrics.  It is a really good song, again it is out of my normal comfort zone but it is one I actually find interesting as well. 

"Dance with Me" is an old school Americana number, a slow ballad with a slide guitar and a gentle pace for slow dancing with the partner of your choice as the band keep the beat at a steady pace.  The lyrics are all about wanting to dance and it is a song about slowly falling in love, there is lyrics in Spanish as well during the song and it does feel like it is the gentle end to a Summer's day when it is on.  But once again I am on the outside looking in, appreciating the talent behind the song and not connecting with it on an emotional level.  "Everybody's Broken" is a song that talks about not being whole, about lies that are stuck inside and about trying to get to a place of safety, it is an acoustic driven rock number that has a pace in the chorus section, support from a low brass section and a drive that makes the toes tap along.  It has that alternative country feeling that was brought to the world by artists such as Sheryl Crow and it is a decent enough number that does its job admirably, it is also one of the better songs on the album that I can actually enjoy.  The last second of this second third song of the album is called "We'll See" which is a very slow blues number that sounds as if hearts are breaking, emotions are changing and everything is fluid and unsettled until the dawn comes and then everything will be shown for what it is.  Once more you have a song that is well played, again it does nothing wrong at all, but there is nothing there for me and it is very clinical and I just appreciate the song instead of liking it (let alone loving it). 

"Are You Listening" is a country/rock song with a combination of Spanish and English sections, it is one of the faster paced songs on the album and it has a hard rock flavour to the usual tone of the album, it is one that I am sure will be going down a storm when she plays live as it has an energy about it which is not as immediately apparent on other tracks on this album.  That is not saying that this album is boring or dull, just that this song has a bit of spark about it.  The penultimate song is called "Fathers and Daughters" and it deals with the relationships between parents and how life changes things as we get older, how taking a risk is sometimes worth taking a risk and making a leap of faith.  It is a song that has memories wrapped around the music tighter than a ring around your finger, it is a gentle song which is cloaked in love and emotions that are apparent to see.  Whilst I might not be completely head over heels with this song, I can once again appreciate where Sarah Dashew is coming from here and it is another song which is well played.  Ending the album is "All Right" which bring the curtain gently down on this album, the music is sweet and reflective with a set of lyrics that seem to be about being with the one you love and when you are told it is all over.  It is also a song which repeats the pattern of the album for me, well played and Sarah Dashew has a pleasant voice; but ultimately it does not make a lasting impression on me.

Now I will not say this is a bad album, Sarah Dashew has a good voice and the songs are nice for what they are; but at the end of the day it is not something that makes a spark and connects with me and music should always have that sort of connection with the listener.  This album will have its fans and as I have said throughout the review, you cannot deny that it is a well performed album at all; but it is one that I would not return to.  However, if you are looking for someone with the story telling abilities of Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow and The Mavericks, then this is your new alternative Country star in the waiting - I hope she gets the success she is looking for with this record.

6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there

Top track - Everybody's Broken

You can purchase the digital version of Roll Like a Wheel on Amazon here

At the time of writing, this album is not currently available on Deezer

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