Sarah Hart: Walking in the shadows of angels
By Erin Maguire
Special to the Catholic Standard and Times
"Using the lyrics to her song, "Shadows of
Angels," as a backdrop, Sarah Hart sings a story of following God's will -
even though, at first, she was unaware of His guidance. Hart had a
spiritually rocky teenage life. It was not until she reached college
that a friend introduced Hart to God...."
"Goodbye Jane" -
CCM Update - October
An artist who has toured with Kathy Troccoli and Wes King demonstrates the
influence of poets such as Sylvia Plath and musicians like James Taylor. A
sweet, thought-piercing voice effectively brings listeners into Hartís day to
day struggles and musings. The multi-talented Hart also lends her guitar and
flute-playing skills. An impressive debut. - Reviewed by John DeMarco
"Goodbye Jane" -
If you like the sounds of Shawn
Colvin and Nancy Griffith mixed with a healthy dose of the unknown, then this
is the CD for you. Without copying some of America's great songwriters, Hart
weaves a magical web with her soft-spoken voice and incredibly strong lyrics.
She even manages to cover a Cyndi Lauper tune with grace and elegance. What
more could you want?
"Goodbye Jane" -
Marketplace - February, 1998
Hart has a poet's heart and an
angel's voice. Her vocals are pure, fluid, and engagingly childlike. In
a day when Christian jargon abounds, these songs' naked honesty shines. Goodbye Jane feels like a collection of letters from a friend, not a pack
of lofty sermons.
On "Marble And Moss", a graveyard serves
as inspiration for making the most of one's days. "Into My Garden" is a
rarity on Christian albums: a love song that is truly poetic, passionate
and romantic, not merely polite.
The best song, however, is the closer,
"Flickers of Light". Recorded live with only guitar and bass, it's drop-dead
gorgeous and lyrically spot-on. "Here in the summer of my years/ Spring more
seldom reappears/ Flashing a thought of innocence/ Through this mature
indifference/ but like souveniers from far away/ Carried and worn with age/ I
hold tight to my Flickers of Light."
Precious few projects transform the music
critic into a grateful, awe-filled listener. Goodbye Jane
is one. ~
- Todd Hafer
"Goodbye Jane" - Release - February,
Sarah Hart's debut Goodbye Jane has two
strengths: first, while the cover hints this might be a country release,
Hart's gentle soprano vocals sound more like Joanna Carlson or Twila Paris.
Although they don't vary much over the course of eleven songs, her vocals
sound best when matched with a familiar tune. For example, "Be Thou My
Vision" is a beautiful cover of a classic hymn. Her Irish-sounding voice
perfectly compliments the Celtic-influenced arrangement.
The second strength is the instrumentation. I
hesitate to label Goodbye Jane "acoustic", considering the wide
variety of instruments used. On a remake of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After
Time", Sarah is backed by an accordian, piano, cello and the very skilled
guitar playing of Out Of The Grey's Scott Dente. The song takes an entirely
new meaning in the Christian context.
As she sings, If you fall I will catch
you/I will be waiting/Time after time, the understated track allows the
song to portray a Heavenly assurance rather than a lover's remark. It's
quite rare when a remake causes you to forget the original. Sarah
Hart's knack for stripped-down arrangements makes Goodbye Jane a
welcome debut. ~ Dan Ewald
"Goodbye Jane" - Living With Teenagers
- July 1998
Here are five reasons to get newcomer Sarah Hart's debut
- Thoughtful, Christ-focused lyrics.
- Appealing acoustic-rock style that's reminiscent of Joni
Mitchell or Alanis Morrisette unplugged (minus the profanity).
- Personal, real-life song
- Top-notch production for a clean, professional sound.
- It's just plain good!
To order, check out your local Christian bookstore.
"Goodbye Jane - Celebration Magazine
- June 1998
If you like the style of Joni Mitchell, you
will like Sarah Hart. Her light, easy way of singing, full of dips, trills and
runs is delightful and never seems forced or artificial. Her instrumentation
is interesting and intricate in that "unplugged", intimate folk style.
Since this recording came to Celebration
for review, presumably it's marketers think it is worship or Christian-based
in it's content. There is little on this recording that gives that strong an
impression, although it is not absent. The Christian and spiritual themes are
so lightly stroked that the listener might miss them unless s/he was expecting
to find them there. A case in point is the song, "Into My Garden", which, when
heard in a scriptural light, could be a rendering of Song of Songs. Then
again, maybe not.
All but two of the selections ("Time After
Time" by Cyndi Lauper and the traditional hymn "Be Thou My Vision") are
original works by Sarah and company, and they lay before us various slices of
life as seen through her eyes. For instance, "Marble And Moss" springs from a
visit to a cemetery; "Shadows Of Angels" ponders unseen companions and
While not recommended for the general worship
setting, "Goodbye Jane" gives a new opportunity for personal meditation on the
spirituality of life itself. It also will give real pleasure to those who
simply love free-folk music for it's own sake.
"Goodbye Jane" - Youthworker Magazine
- May/June 1998
A Little Soul Music:
Sarah Hart's debut, "Goodbye
Jane", is a folk/rock masterpiece featuring unforgettable vocals and vivid
guitar portraits of pain and passion, hurt and hope, tragedy and triumph (all
sung with a smile). Hart, however, is a study in contrasts. She longs to live
beyond "Springfield, USA" yet clings to "Marble And Moss", a haunting song
about death. She speaks of being ordinary and yet caught in God's
extraordinary wonder. Her music is graceful and moving, with an ebb and flow
that carries the listener freely, yet with purpose.
From background music for banquets, baptisms
and baby dedications to discussion starters and graduation gifts (Hart
especially), this is usable music. But beware; it's also deep music. It's not
always easy listening - nor everyone's cup of tea.
But for those panting for ministerial art,
it'll quench deep thirsts. ~ RC
Guitars...And Pianos" - Aspire - January 1998
Aspire Magazine, January, 1998
Girls With Guitars...And Pianos
So what if the
Chinese calendar didn't agree. This past year was the Year of
the Woman... in music anyway. It seems you can't throw a guitar
pick in Nashville these days without hitting some new, talented,
young singer-songwriter with two X chromosomes. What's behind
the sudden flood of females?
been here, but "there's a lot of control by industry execs - who
they are are going to let you hear", explains Sarah Jahn,
whose debut Sparkle (Warner Alliance) released earlier
However, they got
past the gatekeepers, they're here now and they're definately
connecting with other women.
"I think it's
soothing to see a woman stand on stage with a guitar and sing
from her heart," says Sarah Hart, whose Goodbye Jane
(Sovereignty) officially released in November. "Plus", she says,
"it's just a really groovy thing."
Not that women are
the only ones listening.
"Every time I
think I know who my music belongs to I get surprised", says
Jennifer Knapp, the woman behind the just-released Kansas
(Gotee). "I get a barrage of mail from men".
Listeners are not
only discovering new voices, but a new honesty, too. "People
aren't buying the images they've been sold", Sarah Masen
says from the studio where she's recording the follow-up to her
self-titled 1996 debut. "They're starting to ask 'why?'".
Hart agrees. Her
listeners tell her that they're relieved to finally hear: "It's
OK to wonder, and to think, and to not be sure".
That wasn't always
the case. Just ask Leigh Nash of Sixpence None The
Richer who, at 21, feels like the old lady of the Christian
festival circut. ("They treat us like Moses", she laughs.) Nash
was only 17 when Sixpence's first album released. "It was a
problem for a lot of Christians to accept what we were doing",
she says. "But why can't we talk about our struggles? It's
Why indeed? And
why not wrap these honest, confessional lyrics in a variety of
Sixpence's new eponymous project (Squint) does with its
classically alternative sound while Masen has a breathy,
etherial quality and Hart remains true to her folk roots.
Australian native Michelle Tumes relied heavily on her
classical training for her soon-to-be-released debut.
"It's funny how
all that structure gives you all that freedom", Tumes muses.
freedom can be frustrating, though, like when the words just
won't come right out. "Lately I've been using my eraser a lot",
And when the
pressure gets to be too much? "I call my mom", admits Jahn. "Oh,
and it's really important to get to Baskin Robbins before they
So is this year of
the musical woman just another trend? If it is, no one's told
these ladies. They seem in it for the long haul. "I can't wait
to get more experience under my belt", Nash says. "I'm gonna be
so proud of every little wrinkle on my face".
We plan to hold
her to that.
Music" - CBA Marketplace - January, 1998
Artist Spotlight: Sarah Hart: Thoughtful Music
Sarah Hart lives in Springfield, Tennessee with her husband,
Kevin. She attends Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in
Hart's first album, Goodbye Jane, released in November on
Sovereignty International, a new label based in New York City.
Hart has been impacted by the writings of Nanci Griffith, James
Taylor, David Wilcox and Thomas Merton. "After I move to
Nashville, I went out and bought every book [of poetry] I could
get my hands on. I just saturated myself with words, words and
Key messages of
music: "For me, music is your life's story. I don't like to
be trite in my writing. I like to be honest. The whole album is
telling my story and saying, 'These are the things that I see,
and I'd love for you to listen and be a part of that.' "
The meaning of
"Jane": "Jane" is Sarah herself. "I was never very happy in
High School. I hated the social aspects of it and just wanted to
get out and do music. I was very much a "Plain Jane"; I blended
into the background and never stood out. Now, I've seen more
things; moving to Nashville really grew me up. Jane is that
innocent, sheltered person in all of us who at some point we
have to say goodbye to."
Last year, Hart toured in the spring with Kathy Troccoli and
Phillips, Craig and Dean, and then in the fall with Wes King and
Scott Krippayne. "It's been pretty overwhelming. But it's so
rewarding; It's great to see how accepting people are of you and
how they want you to win and walk away feeling that you've given
them something and they've given something back."
"I've recently taken up in-line skating; I'm toying with it.
Kevin and I like to drive out into the country; venture out and
get lost. We do a lot of antique shopping."
If she were
selling the album: "I know that what I do isn't going to
appeal to everybody. I guess I would sell it alongside Wes
King's stuff and maybe Sarah Jahn's - a 'thoughtful generation'
kind of thing."
"There are a lot of people out there who are Christians, but
they are tired of pat answers; they want to look a little