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Monday, 17 February 2014 12:00

Robert Sarazin Blake 2/17/14 + Video

Erika Duffy Erika Duffy robertsarazinblake.com
Written by Erin Frank
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  • Date Recorded: February 17, 2014
  • Artist / Band: Robert Sarazin Blake
  • Hosting Show: Mystery Train
  • Sound: Jon Valley
  • Video: Ed Kleinberg and Melissa James

It's cringingly lazy to compare a performer like Robert Sarazin Blake to Dylan, but it's almost impossible not to on a track like "OK, OK, OK," in which Blake strums a featherweight rhythm as a backdrop for lyrics that border on spoken word.

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The folk singer and songwriter from Bellingham, Washington recently released his latest, almost self-titled album, "Robt Sarazin Blake," and, ever the peripatetic minstrel, tours extensively in the U.S., and frequently in Ireland. These tours, as well as his experience recording 2011's "A Long Series of Memorable Nights Forgotten: The Belfast Sessions," are likely to have inspired the travelogue ballad, "Dingle to Tralee."

Musically a traditionalist, Blake's lyrics span a broader range than his choice of instrumentation might imply. Aside from the occasional country aphorism, the subject matter of "Joy" is not unlike any hard rock tale of excess, the title serving as an offering of redemption as a gift.

Blake's liberal streak emerges on "Sister," the story of his older sibling signing up for the Army, despite her family's wishes and the possibility of breaking her mother's heart. Blake's voice is strained as he repeats to himself that there is little he can say. "Sister" doesn't hold the anarchist piss and vinegar found in some of Blake's work, especially the 2003 album "Bellingham & Philadelphia," but the vigor hasn't necessarily disappeared, it has only mellowed a bit and gone the plaintive way of frustration.

"Robt Sarazin Blake," the source of the songs in this Live at KDHX session, is a contemplative yet much more literal album than Blake's previous releases, and his voice and message, is sonorous but Spartan in its directness.

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