Sayed Sabrina – Thou Art That | Album Review

Sayed Sabrina – Thou Art That


CD: 12 Songs, 44 Minutes

Styles: Soul, Torch Singer Blues, All Original Songs

Some blues is “Low Down Dirty Mean,” as the title of an Allman Brothers song puts it. The lyrics mention despairing junkies, cheating partners, dastardly drunkards and broke bums. The soul blues of LA’s Sayed Sabrina, on the other hand, is powerful, positive, and positively powerful. The eleven original tracks on her new album, Thou Art That, are meant to lift weary spirits and heavy hearts. Some of her lyrics can be downright preachy (“Please don’t take revenge and be angry at your own people”), but in her defense, we collectively need more messages such as these in this polarizing age. Sabrina has an optimal set of pipes to be a torch singer. Indeed, Ms. Wetnight wishes Sabrina would have covered a Peggy Lee classic on here. Fans who love the twilight realm between blues and soul will find this CD right up their alley.

Sayed Sabrina is a native L.A. denizen who took part in the punk rock scene of the 1980s. Living on the streets of Hollywood, spending time in group homes and juvenile hall, and eventually becoming a teenage mother, Sayed Sabrina learned how the music industry AND the world worked. She later made a name for herself and found acceptance in the blues community with her previous release Big Boy Blues, a huge international success currently in its third printing. She was ultimately featured on the same bill as B.B. King, Los Lobos, Jimmy Cliff, Dr. John, Leon Russell, and The Temptations, to name a few. However, Sayed Sabrina doesn’t claim to be a blues singer: “More like a singer that knows what it’s like to have the blues. I like emotionally driven music. For Thou Art That, I’ve incorporated the styles that have become a part of me and am blessed and extremely grateful for the brilliantly talented people on this latest project. Together we created something very special.”

Collaborating with Sabrina (all vocals, all piano) are Bobby Watson, Nick Klingenberg, and Michael B. Holden on bass; Bryan Head and Lynn Coulter on drums; Lari Basillo, Vince White, Brian Price, and Carlos De La Paz on guitar; Dave Mason on cello; Cosima Luther on violin; Gary Herbig on soprano, tenor, and alto sax and flute; Mitch Manker on trumpet, and Sarah Morrow on trombone.

“The Pedestrian” begins this CD with a tongue-in-cheek lament: “I am the Pedestrian in the parking lot, dodging cars that want my spot. You’re so serious with your comical self. Better to put that attitude on the bottom shelf.” The unique meter and rhythm of this tune, along with its edgy minor key, make it more than worthy to be the album’s opener. “Star Shines” follows, an homage to La La Land that also brings the Los Lonely Boys tune “Hollywood” to mind. “The Devil and the Good Lord” might almost be considered a monologue or vignette, from the first-person point of view of a down-and-out narrator: “Sitting in a sea foam box, watching cockroaches crawl on walls. I ain’t got no cigarettes neither. That’s okay, ‘cause I quit last fall. Oh, man, but how I miss that first hit…” Eat your heart out, Holden Caulfield.

“Free Consciousness,” “Goodie Two Shoes,” and “Home Is In Your Head” are the most political of the bunch, decrying hate and violence and promoting social harmony. MLK would be proud.

Thou Art That is a sweet serving of soul stew from Sayed Sabrina!

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