By David Kenney
Music for brain surgery. Sounds like a bad K-Tel commercial for an elevator music compilation. Sarah Harmer’s music is anything but that, however, that’s one fan’s description of what Harmer’s music helps him focus on.
He’s not alone. Another fan’s message on www.sarahharmer.com mentions how Harmer’s latest CD, You Were Here, "got us through another long tree planting season."
"Oh my God, really?" Harmer exclaims. "Oh my God, I love that. That’s so hilarious. I knew those loops were in there for a reason."
It’s not just about the loops, either. You Were Here is an inspiring folk-rock record that melds Harmer’s soaring, conversational vocals with a sound that is part teasing-fun, part emotionally-jarring. Originally released on the Kingston native’s own Cold Snap label in March, You Were Here has found a major label home on Universal Music due to extensive album buzz. Leaping out of the indie pond wasn’t easy for Harmer, though. As a member of Weeping Tile, Harmer, was dropped from her label. Still, she is optimistic about her Universal deal.
"It was something I thought long and hard about," says Harmer, who plays Quincy’s this Friday. "I figured I’d put it out on a major label if anyone would have me."
Currently touring with Nashville singer/songwriter Josh Rouse, Harmer’s solo career launched with a birthday present. A gift for her dad, Harmer’s debut record Songs for Clem was a cover collection of country and jazz standards. Fanfare from friends and radio brought the record to the masses. Harmer says she’d love to attempt another country record.
"I’ve got a batch of songs that I was thinking about some kind of country bluegrass recording and I think I’m going to do that," she says. "That’s some project I’d like to do."
Before then, Harmer is hoping to sit down and pen some new songs.
"Hopefully my new songs will have some suspenders, a few more handkerchiefs because cold season is coming up… and I hope some articles of clothing that I haven’t even yet imagined and not necessarily anything I’m familiar with," she says. "Something borrowed, but [with] some life still in it."