Sarah Patrick releases The Woman I Am

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As a music journalist, I never know what kind of record I’m going to be assigned to take a look at from week to week, and in my career I’ve had the opportunity to cover a wide variety of genres, styles and artists both exceptionally good and, well, not as good (maybe even a little terrible). This week I had the fortune of hearing a piece that definitely leans more towards the former in singer/songwriter Sarah Patrick’s new record The Woman I Am, a modest collection of 12 country-tinged indie songs in the vein of the traditional Heartland and Americana artists of yesteryear. Despite the fact that this is her inaugural release, Sarah is a strikingly well composed performer who seems ready and willing to chase after the throne that sits atop the Billboard country charts.

When I initially listened to The Woman I Am, a couple of tracks really stuck out as treasures. “Before You,” the sixth song on the record, could easily stand on its own as a single, led by carefully synchronized strings and a somber piano, which possesses an almost human sadness that is only redeemed by the optimistically moving vocals of Patrick. I’d go as far as to say that her ethereal voice makes the song almost feel like a spiritual number. On that front, it has a fine companion in the song “That’s The Way Love Goes,” where we have the chance to really experience the range in her dynamically colorful voice. If she were inclined, I think it would be exhilarating to hear Sarah Patrick make an all-out gospel record, or even collaborate with a contemporary Christian band established in Nashville. It takes a very special and soft voice to be able to convey the mighty love that gospel music preaches, and this girl easily has the chops to contend with the biggest names in the business.

Another song that I absolutely have to mention is “He Loved Me, He Loves Me Not,” which is easily the most mature performance on the entire album. This could easily be one of my favorite songs of the year just on its simple yet infinitely catchy slow dance-style beat that accompanies Patrick’s triumphant serenading. A young Trish Yearwood comes to mind for me, even maybe a little bit of Patsy Cline too. Her talent is impeccable and her potential completely undeniable on this track, which easily serves as the weight bearing foundation of the record.

In a perfect world, I think that Sarah Patrick’s next release would shift slightly away from the singer-and-band format and more towards feeling like a legitimate solo record. My one complaint about The Woman I Am is that I feel like there are a couple of unnecessary nuances in the actual music that take too much attention away from the star of the show. You don’t need a lot of big arrangements and crashing percussion when you’ve got a voice this magnetic that you can capitalize on. This is still a very good starting point for Patrick, and I can’t wait to see what happens for her from this point forward.

Sebastian Cole