Rachael Sage – Chandelier (2008)
purchase this album (BUYSWAG)

Think you can’t make a successful run at an independent career in music unless your name is Ani DiFranco? Think again — Chandelier is Rachael Sage‘s eighth release, all of them coming courtesy of her own elbow grease and gumption. She’s clearly doing all right — not only did Chandelier arrive in my mailbox packed with the sort of crit-swag I assumed went extinct in the late ’90s (glossy folder, color 8×10, reams of tearsheets, and, best of all, Rachael Sage candies), but she’s also spent the last couple of years spearheading a charity compilation series, New Arrivals.

Sage calls these songs “glittery,” and Washington Jewish Week calls Sage the “Jewish Norah Jones.” There’s nothing particularly glittery about Jones’ music, but if you’re a piano-playing woman of a certain age, and your songs rarely stray outside the intersection of Midtempo and Tasteful, you’re probably bound to draw that comparison. Sage’s music carries more of a pulse than Jones’, and her arrangements tend to have a lot more color — a number of tracks on Chandelier feature horns and strings as essential components, rather than backdrop decorations — but Norah’s crowd will probably find a lot to like here.

It’s good stuff, and Sage is a charismatic vocalist; ultimately, however, the material is a tad pedestrian for someone who’s been honing her craft for this long. She lays her heart bare in the press kit, detailing the inspiration for each song (“Blue Light” [download] is about her friendship with John Lee Hooker!), but in the end, those descriptions tend to be more interesting than the songs themselves, which is probably not a good sign. For her target demographic, these songs will likely sail right through the goalposts, but if you don’t count yourself among the bubble-bath set, they may end up floating right over your head instead. Try “Angel in My View” (download) for an extra taste, and hear for yourself.

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

View All Articles