Sway –  Sarah Sharp (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

SarahSharp3.jpgThere are many reasons for making records that are purely covers. They range from thoughts of paying homage to the iconic songs that have featured heavily in your life to more cynical ideas of a mere cash-in. Sarah Sharp is very much in the former camp on that axis. The art of course is to be able to bring just enough that is new to the songs but still retain the qualities that made the songs iconic in the first place and again that is exactly what she gets so right on this 6 track release.

The most obvious thing that she brings is a voice that can only be described as breathtaking, that perfect blend of timeless cool jazz vibes and a crystalline contemporary feel, a voice that at once matches the material perfectly but also feels like it opens an interesting new chapter too. Oh What A Beautiful Morning is deft and delicate and You Were Always on My Mind is rendered into a gorgeous late night ballad.

The only song I didn’t recognise immediately was Your Girlfriend Hate’s Me and a little delving reveals that it is in fact an original co-written with Hannah Johnson who as a member of UK country-swing aficionados The Toy Hearts, my own scuffed suede Chelsea boots have grooved around to live on more than one occasion. It is indeed a small world.

I’m not always the biggest fan of covers, standards, pre-owned…call them what you will, songs but here Sarah Sharp gets it all just right and the songs are treated in such a way that they justify this new outing with ease. Her voice alone would be enough to clinch the deal but add in the deft new arrangements which adds groove where there was balladry, ambience where there was swagger, hushed tones where there was bravado and every switch and change in between and you have the perfect tribute blended with the perfect calling card for her own, not insignificant talents.

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