Sarah Scharbrough: Draw Me Back
Sounds like … the jazzy touches of Noah Jones, Natalie Cole, and Harry Connick Jr. with the piano pop leanings of Carole King, Sara Groves, and Cindy Morgan
At a glance … the third studio CD from this critically acclaimed singer/songwriter is once again a charmer, showcasing soulfully rich pipes across spiritually-charged lyrics seeking a daily renewal of faith.
Indiana-bred troubadour Sarah Scharbrough first found fame on the local circuit when splitting her studies at Anderson University with independent artistry at the tip of the 2000s. She released the debut disc So Many Reasons in 2001, balancing the worlds of introspective insight with worshipful leanings, both bathed in an accessible coffeehouse pop dichotomy. She developed a jazzy side and a vertical/ horizontal songwriting equilibrium throughout 2005's The Least of These, also releasing Live In Concert on DVD in support of that tour with her longtime drummer/percussionist (and husband) Jeff McLaughlin.
Aside from her own projects, Scharbrough is also credited for collaborating with everyone from Christian superstars Bill & Gloria Gaither and Sandi Patti to country singers Dierks Bentley and Deana Carter, not to mention fellow piano-pop singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin (who just so happens to be her brother-in-law). Her voice has also been heard in several commercials with clients as diverse as Ford, Dodge, New Balance, Cedar Point Theme Park, and Indiana Pacers basketball.
All that experience translates to an even tighter and generally cohesive collection of eleven tracks that find Scharbrough's voice maturing to an even richer, jazzy direction and her pen adapting additional insight into various aspects of the Christian walk. "We Are the Same" could easily join the accomplished company of Sara Groves or Cindy Morgan, addressing how believers and non-believers share a desire to be whole, but look to different sources for completion. "No Words" is a much peppier piano pop selection that could find authentic footing in a jazz club, even with the praise-tipped lyrics: "No words could ever say/No one could take your place/No steps could ever take me too far from your love."
Additional variety comes in the ballad "Any More Tears," mirroring Norah Jones' smoldering vocals with a classy mixture of folk and jazz. "Grass Is Always Greener" boasts the soulful and elegant appeal of Natalie Cole or Harry Connick Jr., while "Journey" evokes the classic pop of Carole King with a modern context. "Inconveniently Beautiful" is particularly pretty with its delicate piano progressions and subtle string section, but the lyrics are even more engaging as they speak of rekindling the faith of a child. The only minor detour is "Nothin' But You," due to its marginally annoying programmed loops. Otherwise, Scharbrough's third project is loaded with sonic and thematic strengths that find her more than worthy of a major label deal should she ever decide to dive in that direction.
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