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Sarah Harmer

I'm a Mountain – 2006 (Zoe/Rounder)

Reviewed by Susie Hatch

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CDs by Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer's fourth record is alive with finger-pickin' a bluegrass-flavored/rootsy style, strong vocals and variable sentiment. Harmer has a beautiful singing voice that is smooth and secure and offers an impressive range.

The music is upbeat, full and well-crafted, with a style sitting somewhere between folk and bluegrass. The lyrical content is solid, starting with "The Ring," "I Am Aglow" and "Oleander," paying tribute to the author's optimism and perseverance. The record then begins to level off with the title track. Although fast-paced and fun, the song does not lyrically go anywhere. The remainder of the record, although delivered with perfect vocals and musical composition, fluctuates between being captivating and confusing, with phrases in which the meaning is unclear - "There's a bed made up of stairs if you get tired" ("Goin' Out"), "The truth can get sucked out the car window" ("Escarpement Blues") and "There's deep in the valley, and I'm bound to go" ("How Deep In The Valley")

Although the overall meaning of these songs does indeed come across, and come across beautifully, the lyrics themselves are confusing and function as a hiccup in the overall listening enjoyment of an otherwise great record.