Tara speaks with alt-folk-pop singer-songwriter Rachael Sage about recording her Beatle-esque single ‘Flowers For Free’, songwriting from an early age, how she got started to now running her own label and artists that have inspired her along the way and much more!
Alt-folk-pop singer-songwriter Rachael Sage has released colorful new single “Flowers For Free” from her new album The Other Side. Co-produced by Sage with Grammy® winner Andy Zulla and longtime engineer Mikhail Pivovarov, Rachael’s ‘60s-influenced “Flowers For Free” is poetic pop-rock at its most adventurous. Beatle-esque wah guitar, baroque trumpet flourishes, chamber strings and Sage’s pulsing piano ground this psychedelic song about never giving up on this earthly life, or into the temptation of complacency. Sage’s band The Sequins drives the track, with guest guitarists James Mastro (Ian Hunter) and Jack Petruzzelli (Rufus Wainwright) bringing the retro vibes.
I wrote ‘Flowers For Free’ when I was a kid, and I guess – as we do when we’re young – I naturally went to a bit of a psychedelic place, exploring the concept of the stranger and whether someone offering you something in whatever context might be benevolent or have some kind of questionable motive. I was heavily influenced by The Beatles growing up, so I think sonically and harmonically that definitely comes through on the track.
Sage’s latest studio album is the most grounded of her illustrious career. The Other Side’s 15 tracks of emotionally charged and intricately woven music recall the classic, retro-warmth of the ’70s and ’80s, and are as instantly hummable as they are lyrically poignant. With memorable Americana-infused pop hooks and folk-fueled poeticism, Sage’s timeless writing reminds us what’s most important is always worth waiting for, via songs steeped in just the right amount of best-is-yet-to-come optimism.
The album’s musical collaborators include guitarists Jack Petruzzelli (Patti Smith) and James Mastro (Ian Hunter), trumpet player Russ Johnson (Elvis Costello), bassist Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo), and guest vocals from UK pop icon Howard Jones. The record also includes Sage’s interpretations of Yazoo’s classic “Only You”, and Maria McKee’s “Breathe”.
Track highlights include: “Whistle Blow”, an Americana palette of slide and acoustic guitars, where Sage muses on power dynamics and boundaries; Sage’s folk-pop anthem “The Other Side”, whose memorable gospel-tinged chorus and rapid-fire poeticism make it an instant classic; “I Made a Case”, a poignant, Bacharach-esque duet featuring Howard Jones, with whom Sage has undeniable vocal chemistry; and the ‘60s-influenced “Flowers For Free” is poetic pop-rock at its most adventurous.
Sage decidedly stretched her range as a producer on The Other Side. String arrangements are equal parts intimate and lush, and there’s a sense of expansiveness that never overtakes her gritty-but-ethereal vocal delivery. Acoustic guitars, fiddles, tympani and trumpets and her signature piano skills amplify lyrics bound by an appreciation of freedom’s most desired consequence: peace.
Sage toured this August throughout the UK in partnership with the charity akt, which supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. Visit rachaelsage.com for updates.
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Written by: Channel R