Rooted By Sasha Lewis Is Roots Rock Worth Shouting About!

CD Review
Title: Rooted
Artist: Sasha Lewis
Label: Independent
Released: 2010
Stars: 4.0

It has been a while since a female singer-songwriter in the roots rock genre has wowed me with her debut album, but Salmon Arm, British Columbia’s dynamite Sasha Lewis has done just that with her stunning 10 track CD, Rooted.

Sasha doesn’t immediately remind me of any other artist, although if you’re a fan of Melissa Etheridge or Feist you will probably love her sound. Her passionate vocal performances, skillful strumming, bleached blond, tattooed, punk goddess/alternating brunette earth mother vibe is one I haven’t seen in an acoustic artist who writes groovy and powerful folk/rock songs. This makes Sasha stand out in a crowd and her music stands out too. Her tenacious vocals and poignant lyrics that reflect the ways we deal with love gone wrong, the exorcism of our demons and the search for a better life, blend perfectly to create a memorable listening experience that becomes more profound with each spin of the disc.

Sasha’s eclectic influences range from Ani Difranco, Jimi Hendrix and Joan Jett to Bruce Cockburn, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Johnny Horton, Alison Krauss, Hank Williams and Ryan Bingham. She wrote all of the songs on Rooted and was accompanied by Jesse Clarke on guitar, percussion & back-up vocals, Jake Verburg on guitar (on Still Photograph), Darrin Herting on bass & cello, Roxy Roth on piano, Leon Power on drums and Stephanie Webster on back-up vocals.

Rooted opens with the slow-burning, evocative rocker Shot You Down, followed by another mid-tempo, melodious rocker, Your Safe Hands. Sasha’s voice morphs from clear-voiced and plaintive balladeer in Roots, Still Photograph, Until Your Home and Monsters (a lullaby about monsters under the stairs) to a feisty, banshee-like wail that stirs the loins in Your Safe Hands, Supergirl, and Following One (my favourite tracks on the album):

FOLLOWING ONE

you’re fragile and young, think you got everything under your thumb,
mercy child you don’t know anything but the mess that you bring,
and the pain from your past, oh the pain from your past

heavily guarded but easily influenced,
you become the poster child to this fake facade
of the next best thing that society brings, society brings

no no no, no no, no no no, no no
I won’t go the way you tell me
no no no, no no, no no no, no no
I’ll tread these waters till I reach land
no no no, no no, no no no, no no, no no no, no no

harnessed my tone,
guided by my gut,
humbled by the packs

following one like the propaganda on your tongue
mercy child you don’t know anything but the mess that you bring,
and the ghost from your past, the ghosts the ghost from your past

Rooted concludes with the reggae-laced Reasons, leaving you wanting more.

After a successful showcase at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival this summer as well as support from CBC Radio, it’s highly likely that Sasha Lewis is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future.

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