Streaming Premiere:  Acoustic album PseudoMyopia

Award-winning Rachael Sage Releases Acoustic Album PseudoMyopia

In celebration of International Women’s Dayas well as Women’s History Month, award-winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Rachael Sagehas released an acoustic version of her feminist anthem “Sistersong,” along with a fan-sourced video for her song “Spark.” Both songs appear on her forthcoming album PseudoMyopia, out today [March 22, 2019]via MPress Records/ILS/Universal.

A companion acoustic album to Sage’s critically acclaimed recording Myopia, PseudoMyopia is a collection of 11 songs focusing on the concept of vision, including narrow mindedness, in all its many manifestations. Legally blind without corrective lenses, Sage balances the political and the personal with striking depth and perspective. A multi-instrumentalist herself, Sage enlisted a diverse cast of guest musicians to bring a warm intimacy to these timely tracks, touching on topics as varied as government surveillance, environmental protection, and female empowerment. Guests include guitarist Ben Butler (Sting), bassist Richard Hammond (Joan Osborne), cellist Ward Williams (Sara Bareilles) and Grammy-nominated musician Seth Glier.

When we asked Sage how PseudoMyopiaevolved, she said, “Out of people coming up to me after nearly every show, when I was on tour with Howard Jones last year, and asking me if I had any recordings that sounded more like what I was doing live—which at the time was just myself on piano and guitar, accompanied by my violinist Kelly Halloran. I started discussing the idea of doing completely different, more stripped-down arrangements of select songs from Myopia with my co-producer Andy Zulla. We began working on it this past summer. As an artist who has always straddled pop, folk and even classical genres, I’m always attracted to the idea of transforming live arrangements based on the venue where I may be performing. In this case, I wanted to create a very intimate experience for the listener, where it almost feels like I’m in your living room—but there’s plenty of texture and lots of dynamic. Only purely acoustic elements were allowed—that was the rule.”

One of the standout tracks is “Alive (acoustic)”—full of visual imagery sprinkled with metaphors about enjoying life to the fullest, while showing us the true meaning of being grateful. Filled with catchy hooks and a chorus that makes you want to join in and sing with her, Sage’s lyrics are accessible for anyone who realizes that it’s important and necessary to stop and take inventory of life’s true, simple fortunes.

When asked what makes her feel alive these days, without hesitation Sage said “My friendships and my family make me alive, and my increased ability to listen to myself, and relax when I need to. I’ve gotten very into yoga and meditation over the past year, which of course is all about breathing and being present. So pretty much everything has a heightened sense of beauty for me these days, which is vital in a time when we’re being bombarded with so much stress and anxiety. Of course, making music and art makes me feel the most alive.”

Since March is a month celebrating women, it’s appropriate that “Sistersong (Acoustic)” spotlights a new, intimate arrangement of Rachael Sage’s longtime beloved fan favorite, originally recorded in 1998 as a tribute to indie trailblazer and feminist icon Ani DiFranco. Featuring guest female artists Nalani & Sarina, Fiona Harte, and Gabrielle Louise, the song mirrors the #MeTooand Women’s Marchmovements, exploring the concept of sisterhood in all its manifestations. In this brand new acoustic rendition, Sage channels the nuances of ageism, sexism and the pressures on women to be everything but themselves, into a powerful anthem for the ages.

Another standout track is “Spark”—about passion in all of its many forms including love, creativity and friendship. Sage wanted to create something special involving her fans, so she invited them to send her footage sharing their own passions while using the song as inspiration. Submissions came from every corner of the U.S. and around the globe including Brazil, Australia, UK and South Korea. Sage selected the best clips and made them into her official video for the track.

“Spark,” says Sage “is a song about that magical moment when someone or something brand new and inspiring captures your attention and draws you in—when anticipation is still the dominant emotion and you can’t help but be honest because the eagerness to connect is so strong. I’m trying to capture the essence of passion we all feel during those magical moments of humanity before walls have had a chance to build or expectations and doubts have taken hold—when everything feels absolutely authentic, exciting, vulnerable and inevitable.”

When we asked Sage why she needed to release PseudoMyopia, the companion album to Myopia, she said, “I was very excited to re-approach this material after shedding it live for several months, and finding new keys, to speak, into what the stories were really about. Often I’ll write a bunch of material, go into the studio, experiment sonically and get caught up in the soundscape which is very valid and an adventure unto itself. But I think this version of the album is definitely more reflective of where I’m at now—both emotionally and musically. I am trying to pull the listener into the lyrical content more—and stripping back anything that might inhibit that—rather than ‘playing to the rafters.’ It was also a wonderful opportunity to reunite with Ben Butler (guitar), who was in my very first band, The Red Rubber Band. He’s since gone on to tour the world with George Michael, Sting and many other artists I admire. I always feel like his playing elevates whatever I do.”

Sage tours this Spring, with stops throughout the US and UK in support of PseudoMyopia, which is available via iTunes. An album release event with Sage and her full band, The Sequins, will be held at Joe’s Pub/ NYC on April 18.

Rachael Sage “Myopia”, photographed at Brooklyn Grain, November 28, 2017. Credit Photo: Erin Baiano

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