Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
Folk and alternative rock artist Sarah Harmer recently played at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, NB Canada and this writer jumped on the opportunity to buy tickets to view her in this spectacular concert venue.
The concert opened with the song that gave her latest album, Oh Little Fire, its name, "One Match," which allowed Harmer and her band to bring the eager crowd to life and she had little trouble holding the audience's attention throughout the night.
Harmer's subdued exterior did not fool the concert goers as a fire shone through in her music, weaving a rich tapestry with her lyrics. Like an abstract artist explaining their work, she added a personal history to her songs that added to the strength of her songwriting abilities. Although her comments about the city almost sounded sardonic at times, the crowd was very receptive and appreciated her choice to welcome requests.
Immediately striking is her rich, silken voice that adds to the intimacy of her words. She was able to change up the tempo of the performance with a mix of rock, like "The Thief" and "Careless," and some of her unique and immediately recognizable folk tunes, such as "Oleander" and "Late Bloomer."
Harmer's opening act was Joey Wright, a singer and instrumentalist who has toured with Harmer as part of her band in the past. Wright proved a fine addition to Harmer's part of the concert as he joined her on stage for a number of songs, but his solo music really didn't fit with hers and seemed more of filler than anything else.
"Escarpment Blues" let Harmer show off her activist title as she explained the problem in her province of Ontario with a company trying to build large quarries in the name of progress.
Oh Little Fire did not disappoint her fans. It is her first album since 2005 and those eagerly awaiting more from her received a solid composition with a mix of the rock stylings and folk tunes that her many followers have come to expect while remaining fresh.
Although her performing style does work for her, there were times where it seemed there was a chance that she actually wanted to convey more emotion and a more intense persona would work to Harmer's advantage. Still, there is no doubt that you would not want to lose the artist that has taken her this far.
If you have the chance to catch Sarah Harmer in concert, you will not leave disappointed.