Well... I've had the honour of knowing this lady for what?...five or more years now. I first came across her on her myspace page lurking under the name Saravian. As she was inhabiting Brighton at the time and I'd had this idea of turning the Blaker's Park Community Picnic into Woodstock, I was contacting likely looking local artists and inviting them to give their services completely free of charge and totally at their own expense! Lo!... and Behold! - Sara was not only able and willing to meet these exacting requirements, she also hung around after her set talking to everyone and she actually lent her guitar to a total stranger to do an ad hoc performance during the proceedings which in the event turned out to totally random - haphazard, even - in the true Woodstock tradition. Sara sang a few songs of her own composition which everyone present showed much appreciation for, but I believe it was her quiet and quirky rendition of Donovan's Season of the Witch which [which witch?] convinced the cogniscenti amongst us that here was a talent worth watching.
'Twas not long ere, sadly for Brighton, Sara upped sticks and moved to our Sister City, Bath and eventually settled in Frome [ pronounced Frooooooooooom, for those who don't know]. Her career has blossomed and fruited into a pretty good all-round musician, event organiser, radio presenter, spiritual guru and what-have-you. Luckily, for moi, we have stayed in touch - thank you Sara for putting up with my sniping at your various webpages from the sidelines - and at long last she has sent me a record for review!
Let me get my little quibble out the way to start with - and then no more need be said on the subject - the packaging is not exactly exciting and attractive - it has a rather ordinary layout and track listing with little further information and a very old-fashioned [rather than 'retro'] picture of Sara and her guitar [a drab colour version of the above]. A quick visit to any of her sites [I'd pick Facebook] will reveal any number of much more attractive shots.
It's an EP - entitled.. well not actually entitled anything, which I think is sad. The first track is called 'Wild, Free and Beautiful' - a song which Sara has been singing and developing for quite a long time now and I suspect she, Dylan-like, sings quite differently from performance to performance as she's that kind of girl. She's more than the obvious folk singer/songwriter which the record sleeve portays her as - she's actually quite the jazzer as the second track 'Love Be with Us!' illustrates.
This brings me on to the spiritual aspect of Sara Coffield. She never really quite defines what this is but frequently hints in her public utterances that this is a very important aspect of her being. But not in an intrusive way, which old cynics such as I would not handle particularly benignly. She is more the type of person who seems to want to just share her joy in living.. and I have to say it's catching and rather beautiful.
Track three, 'Bless My World' reinforces this message and compliments the listener with plaintive offerings such as "You're a crazy genius......I really, really like you.." - who can possibly resist responding positively to that?
The EP winds up with 'Trickster' - a medium paced moody enquiry into our motives vis-a-vis what?I'm not sure but the enigmatic question is posed just the same.
Despite, or more probably because of, the rather strange abrupt ending to that last track in particular and hence the EP, one is left wanting more.. a lot more.
I'm really, really pleased to be able to give the thumbs up to a record release from Sara after such a long friendship. She deserves wider recognition and certainly stands head and shoulders above a number of currently adulated female [male too] so-called folk singers.