Sara K. & Chris Jones
"Are We There Yet?"
Live in Concert

by Johanna J. Bodde


"Are We There Yet? - Live In Concert"

(Stockfisch Records)

Sara K., not a suspect from a newspaper article but an American singer-songwriter. I didn't know her before I got this album, well, I don't know everybody in the music world of course. I did hear the name of virtuoso guitarist Chris Jones, rustling through the circuit of musicians and connoisseurs. -This was before he passed away too early.- The man came from Reno of all places, a mini-Las Vegas where everybody and nobody plays covers in casino lounges and he sounded like some Ry Cooder... He heard Sara K. in a German studio (he lived for 26 years in Germany) and he insisted on working with her. Label boss Gunter Pauler had the same idea at the same moment, wonderful when it comes together like that.
This CD contains a concert, more than 71 minutes long, from a sponsored German tour in the Spring of 2002. Sponsored by a loudspeaker company! How did this happen? Between all recordings the results of the show in Erlangen were most convincing, overdubs not even necessary. Sara herself played a four-string (!) acoustic guitar, while Chris did his terrific thing on six strings, he also had a beauty of a dobro handy. With what words do I describe Sara's voice best? An alto with rich sound palette and wide vocal range, a very particular vocal. She makes us think for a moment of Lucinda Williams, in relaxed "Anymore" for instance, but the emotional outbursts go more into the direction of Janis Joplin. Sara sings a lot of bluesy pieces but I also hear influences from jazz and folk, the improvised solos are definitely spellbinding. Professional release, also a feast for the eyes with the painting in warm colors that even returns on the disc itself and the appealing musicians-in-action photographs. Guess what cover they chose for the encore? Don McLean's "Vincent" and now we hear again how beautiful that song actually is. (Both Sara K. and Chris Jones released various other albums on this label.)

Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.