thu 23/05/2024

Album: Sarah Jane Morris - The Sisterhood | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Sarah Jane Morris - The Sisterhood

Album: Sarah Jane Morris - The Sisterhood

A brilliant ode to female torchbearers

Ten songs honouring female artists past and present

Released yesterday to coincide with International Women’s Day, The Sisterhood will surely prove to be one of the brightest jewels in Sarah Jane Morris’s varicoloured discography.

A labour of love which Morris has been contemplating for two decades, the album presents a tribute to “my ten singers, my essential lodestars”, as she puts it, acknowledging and honouring female artists past and present who have inspired her own musical journey. Wonderfully arranged and stylistically diverse, Morris and her co-writer/co-producer Tony Rémy pull off a remarkable feat of crafting 10 songs which tell each singer-songwriter’s story while simultaneously capturing their musical and lyrical essence.

The multilayered title track serves up a deliciously funked-up homage to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, while the trailblazing Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, is celebrated in “Couldn't Be Without”. A monstrous backbeat and stacked up horns underpin “Tomorrow Never Happens”, a paean to Janis Joplin tellingly programmed directly after Joplin’s greatest musical inspiration.

As well as glorious tributes to Nina Simone (“So Much Love”), Rickie Lee Jones (“Jazz Side of the Road”) and Billie Holiday (“Junk In My Trunk”), “Rimbaud Of Suburbia” draws aofascinating line between the singular sound-world of Kate Bush and the striking free verse of the precocious French poet of the title, whose 1872 poem, Bonne pensée du matin, is heard in its entirety.

With a beautiful string arrangement by Sally Herbert, the song honouring Joni Mitchell, “Sing Me A Picture”, possesses something of the epic quality of Mitchell’s own “Paprika Plains”. The concluding “Miss Makeba” moves seamlessly from spoken-word praise for the iconic South African singer and anti-apartheid activist to an exuberant Afrobeat anthem graced by the presence of the Soweto Gospel Choir, which echoes their contribution to Morris’s acclaimed 2014 album, Bloody Rain.

A heartfelt expression of love and a celebration of musical torchbearers, The Sisterhood will have you hooked from its opening bars.

@MrPeterQuinn 

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