Sayed Sabrina is prepping for the release of a new full-length studio album on August 8. It’s called Thou Art That. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Sayed Sabrina is a singer-songwriter and musician. Once a part of the L.A. punk rock scene in the 1980s, she has already led an interesting life on the Hollywood streets. Having spent time in juvenile hall and group homes and as a teen mom, Sabrina knows how both the music industry and the world works.
Her rockin’ resume includes a trio of previous platters, an EP and a soundtrack. In fact, her last album, the successful Big Boy Blues, garnered her both a name and acceptance in the blues music community. She has also seen her share of live gigs as well, having appeared on the same bill as such other artists as B.B. King, Los Lobos, Leon Russell, Tower of Power, Dr. John, and Jimmy Cliff.
Her vocals have been compared to the likes of Shakira and even Janice Joplin. The latter comparison never surprised her. Joplin is not only one source of inspiration but as she recently told the press: “I’m most compared to [her] n a regular basis when I perform live. I have been told this by people who have known her.”
Nevertheless, Sabrina does not claim to be a blues singer. In fact, she once stated that she is “[m]ore like a singer that knows what it’s like to have the blues.” She adds: “I like emotionally driven music.” Her signature sound is a mix of multiple musical genres including blues, funk, jazz, rock, and soul.
Thou Art That
The title of this new disc is a phrase that in some spiritual realms refers to the unseen you. It is apropos since Thou Art That includes some interesting but unexpected choices both in terms of composition and actual instruments utilized. On it, Sabrina leads the way on vocals and piano.
She is backed by an assortment of other artists including Bobby Watson (bass guitar), Nick Klingenberg (upright bass and bass guitar), Bryan Head and Lynn Coulter (drums), Lari Basillo, Vince White, and Brian Price (guitar), Carlos De La Paz (lead guitar), Dave Mason (cello), Cosima Luther (violin), Gary Herbig (saxophones and flute), Mitch Manker (trumpet), and Sarah Morrow (trombone).
Track by track
The 12-track CD opens with “The Pedestrian.” It immediately indoctrinates the uninformed as to Sabrina’s pensive (sometimes clever and sometimes curious) lyrics and trademark vocals. It’s the second single off the upcoming album.
The second serving of Sabrina is “Star Shines.” This also contains examples of her clever writing complete with literary references made in the lyrics. “The Devil and the Good Lord” paints a sometimes unglamorous picture and yet the music and her song-style make it work. It includes guest artist Michael B. Holden on bass.
Next is “Free Consciousness.” Is there just a tinge of opera in here? Perhaps it’s not important. What is important is that the track is both familiar yet fresh.
“What’s Happening Here?” follows. It has both lyrical and musical elements that make it confusing at points. Still, it’s probably intentional since the slightly confusing moments make it all the more effective in getting across its message.
The first single from this new work is “Goodie Two Shoes.” It has a heartfelt lyrical message that might just either reflects on personal experience or is simply a timely lyrical lesson. Throw in the solid musical grounding and it’s radio-ready.
“Everybody Knows” contains an interesting contrast. There is something slinky in Sabrina’s vocals and film-noirish in the music and yet the lyrics focus on a serious message. “Everyday” exhibits the ability of Sabrina and company to maintain consistency in the quality of the material here. You might say they can put on a good show (ahem) every day.
“Into the Mouth of the Serpent” is a standout track. This is due in part to a degree of alt-country thrown into the musical mix. “Home is in Your Head” has a mystical, psychedelic feel to it in part. It focuses on a message that is pat philosophy and familiar social commentary.
“Ghosts” is by no means a Halloween song. It is more accurately a song rife with honest observations and more personal commentary. The album endnote is a “Grande Illusion.” Here listeners are treated to a final example of her tuneful talents.
Overall the album is an excellent example of Sabrina’s abilities and determination to entertain. One can almost visualize her individualistic sense of presentational style and the diversity of small yet significant musical choices that sync with her trademark vocal stylings.
Sabrina adds: “It’s a blues, rock, jazz, funk, soul kinda thing…” In reference to her backing artists she concludes: “Together we created something very special.”
So check out Sayed Sabrina’s Thou Art That and learn why “Home Is In Your Head.”
(SPECIAL NOTE: Sabrina’s official album release party will be held at the Canyon Club in Agoura on September 5, 2019.)