A last name like Petite suggests a double entendre, not to mention a punch line for all kinds of cheap jokes. So imagine the surprise that comes with the first discovery of Sara Petite's songs and singing. Big, bold and brassy, she comes across like an artist with a timeless resume, a whirlwind of musical expression who creates an ageless sound prepped by cool and confidence. Like Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette, or Patsy Cline incarnate, she possesses the balls-out bravado that marks her as a star.
The fact that five albums on, Petite hasn't gained greater awareness seems somewhat bewildering. Chalk it up to the fact that she records independently. Indeed, her ability to cover broad swaths of the musical landscape, from the banjo-driven ramble of "You Don't Care At All" and the clearly contagious upbeat wallop of "It Was Just a Kiss" to the south of the border horns of "Getting Over You" and the darker strains of "Good 2 B Me" (which references Tom Petty in both lyric and delivery) makes "Road Less Traveled" a study in classic country. And dang, if Dolly Parton doesn't nod in knowing delight upon hearing the fiddle-fueled, thigh-slapping reflection that accompanies "Patchwork Quilt," well, suffice it to say maybe we don't know Dolly.
Petite's ability to deliver such affecting songs from a singular and personal point of view only adds to her credibility and conviction. "Road Less Traveled" may be a misnomer - these roads ought to bring familiar touchstones to anyone that admires true country flourish - but regardless, it's clearly an album for the ages. Add Sara Petite to that sacred roster of honky tonk heroines.