Tag Archives: entertainment

Sarah Blacker to add host to her resume

Sarah Blacker (Photo by Katherine Hemmond)
Sarah Blacker (Photo by Katherine Hemond)

By LEAH ASTORE

On Saturday, March 16, 2013, singer-songwriter Sarah Blacker will host the fifth annual Limelight Magazine Music Awards.

Over the last three and a half years Blacker has worked on her music full-time, released two albums, one EP, and toured the United States and Germany, while working as a part-time music therapist. Now, the multi-talented artist can add “host” to her repertoire.

“I’m very excited,” Blacker said, of hosting. “I was totally flattered when [Limelight Magazine] asked me.”

Along with hosting, Blacker’s first music video “Knocked the Winds” is nominated for Music “Video of the Year” at the Limelight Magazine Music Awards. The video, which currently has over 16,000 views on YouTube, stars all of her close friends.

“It was a really incredible process,” Blacker said, of filming.

Blacker is also currently nominated for “Female Performer of the Year” by the New England Music Awards.

“It’s pretty amazing. I was completely flattered and honored,” Blacker said of her nomination.

The best thing about award shows, she said, is they give recognition to all of the work musicians put in to make their music.

“New England really takes note of what’s going on,” Blacker said. “It really means the music counts.”

Needless to say, Blacker has been busy since she first began writing music as a junior in high school. Over the years, Blacker’s music has evolved along with her and is inspired by a “melting pot of influences.” Her music recalls aspects of several styles from jazz, to avant-garde, to classical, she said. When she writes, her creative process is often inspired by whatever her feelings are at the moment.

“It’s influenced by mood more than anything and emotion, of course,” she said. “There are different characters inside of me and when I write a song it’s usually one of those characters.”

Among her musical influences she lists classics such as Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, and popular 90s artists such as Sarah McLachlan, to name a few.

“I think a little bit of everything I’ve heard have either a conscious or subconscious influence on all the music I make,” she said.

Currently, the singer-songwriter is finalizing her second EP titled Precious Little Things, which she funded through a PledgeMusic fundraiser.

“We reached our goal and that was pretty awesome,” she said. “[It] was a big help.”

While the public will have to wait until late spring or early fall for its release, Blacker will continue to tour and play house concerts with her percussionist, Shaysh, guitar player and vocalists Erik White and Chuck Fisher, and her bassist and producer/engineer at 37’ Productions, Sean McLaughlin. Blacker and her band will also hit the road to play some shows with local band, The Alternate Routes. As for another international tour, Blacker said she would love to and it’s “in the works.”

As a performer, Blacker offers her audiences a unique experience. She creates a fun atmosphere by telling “obscene jokes” and stories in between songs, she said.

“I think it’s nice to share with people why a song was written, and where it came from and what is going on,” Blacker said. “Typically I write in a way where people can choose how they relate to the songs.”

One of her favorite songs she’s written is from her first album The Only Way Out is Through called “Sand Piper.”

“I wrote it for my parents. I can play it anywhere and people really relate,” she said.

The Limelight Magazine Music Awards will take place at the Rock Junction in Coventry, R.I., on March 16th at 7:30 P.M. The awards will honor bands and musicians from New England selected by readers of the magazine in an online poll.

The Rock Junction is located at 731 Centre of New England Blvd. in Coventry, R.I. The venue has a full bar and dinner menu. Parking is free.

Tickets for the awards show are $10 each and $12 day of show. They can be purchased online through http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/315633.

 

Getting lucky with Jon Anderson

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

St. Patrick’s Day is next Saturday and so is Jon Anderson’s sold out show at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. As part of a solo tour of the U.S., the former front man for progressive rock icons, Yes, said he’ll be performing classic tunes, as well as a few songs from his 2010 studio album, Survival & Other Stories, which was made in collaboration with musicians from around the world that he discovered by placing an ad on his website.

“I’m doing old songs, new songs, all sorts of songs, telling stories and having a good time,” said Anderson.

He got the idea to create the album when he learned he had the ability to compose with others by sending and receiving MP3s of recorded music. Now, he has about 25 people he regularly works with.

“It was like opening a Pandora’s box because there are so many talented people out there with so many different kinds of music,” Anderson said.

Not only has he partnered with strangers, he also recently reunited with former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The two joined forces for a month-long U.S. tour last year.

After spending time apart, Anderson said it felt as if they didn’t miss a beat-literally.

“It’s like riding a bicycle,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where we played new songs and classic songs we wrote together with Yes. He’s a fun guy to be around and we get on very well.”

In fact, they will be working together again in the near future, as they are planning a west coast, 20-show tour for early 2013. At the moment, Anderson is writing music with his son, Damion.

“We’ve been writing for the last couple of months and finishing up a new one,” said Anderson. “It sounds really cool. He’s a little like me because he tries everything.”

Speaking of family, Anderson’s wife of 18 years, Jane, accompanies him on the road. She also manages the entire tour.

“We love being together and have a great time,” he said. “We’re very blessed and we just want to enjoy life.”

For Anderson, doing a solo tour gives him the opportunity to relax more often. He feels it takes pressure off him.

“I’m nearly 70-years-old and I’m doing different things now,” he said. “I was in a band for 35 years and that was enough.”

But, performing solo isn’t the only way he decompresses. In his spare time, he likes to paint watercolors.

“I think it’s more of a meditative thing for me,” said Anderson.
However, don’t expect to see his artwork featured at his shows or sold online.

“I give them away,” he said. “I just sent one to a fan the other day. He has kidney problems, so I sent him a painting and a signed photograph to cheer him up.”

After this tour ends, Anderson will be gearing up for shows in Europe and Brazil this summer. He said he hopes to put out new music later this year.

“I haven’t decided exactly when but I have a lot going on and I’m very happy with what I’m doing,” said Anderson.

In a career that spans almost five decades, he said the best part of being a musician is “the next gig.”

“It’s my life and I love it,” Anderson said. “I don’t just do it for the money. Having fun is what it’s all about.”