Streaming Cafe

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Germany's Sarah Brendel | North American Album Release

by Malcolm Petch
At Streaming Café we tend to develop long-term relationships with some of our favourite artists. One of those becoming a regular fixture here is Sarah Brendel, who will be joining us on July 7th.

What’s different about this long-term relationship, though, is that Sarah is from Germany, and her town of Dresden is a looong way from us here on the western-most side of North America.

Brendel is touring in support of her new album, Before the Mountains, which has just been released. In contrast to the produced layers of instruments on some of her earlier work, …Mountains is all what-you-see-is-what-you-get, with vocals, guitar and drums all recorded live-from-the-floor with no overdubs. The result is a faithful representation of a live Brendel performance, with both grit and poignancy coming through clearly.

Before the Mountains was produced by Brendel’s friend Arno Jordan, and recorded in the German artist-community facility where both Brendel and Jordan live with their respective families. The rustic retreat centre that both their families call home is a large manor house, or Schloss, that is set in the tiny hamlet of Rhorsdorf on the outskirts of Dresden (made famous in Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five). The castle-like centre houses several different families who have gathered together as part of an artistic community. There’s an in-house pub, too…

photo by Hanna Stober
Sarah Brendel has graced the wood wall at Streaming Café in July 2010 and again in August of 2011 (seems to be a summer-time theme happening here…). “Graced the wood wall” means she’s played here. And already in 2012 she’s been part of the Lille Gard music fest, playing alongside other international and regional artists in the outdoor Canada-Day weekend festival hosted by Tribehouse.

Before the Mountains is definitely a full-length album. Some of the 15 tracks are fresh recordings of tunes that have been featured in Sarah’s earlier performances here at Streaming Café, while most are new to listeners everywhere. There are definite influences showing on this recording, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it doesn’t take a hard stretch of imagination to hear shades of Larry Norman and even Sgt. Pepper floating to the surface in different songs. In fact, there are a couple of song intros that might even leave you thinking you’re about to hear a Johnny Cash tune; but it develops into a Brendel original, of course.

One of the joys of hearing live music is being able to groove along to songs you already know; often a new album-release tour show involves old faves interlaced among the new tunes, so that concert-goers can get their fill of tunes they already know plus get exposure to the new tracks. But in this marvelous digital age, Sarah Brendel fans can get a listen to the new album ahead of time (and even buy it, of course) by following this link to Before the Mountains posted on the SC website.

Check out Sarah Brendel’s new album, enjoy some of the live videos of her previous SC performances, and then make a date with yourself (or someone you like) to see and hear this energetic German singer-songwriter live at Streaming Café on July 7th; as always, show starts live in person and online at 7pm Pacific time.

Here's the video "What A Happy Life" from here new album that was filmed in Dresden.

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