Thursday, August 29, 2013

Local Soul Singer Sarah Bollinger Releases Debut Solo Album, Both/And

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 6:17 AM


In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.

While studying language in southern Portugal to aid professional humanitarian work this summer, soul singer Sarah Bollinger found herself at a small club immediately bonding with the local musicians. Bollinger quickly put her Portuguese-speaking chops to the test, appearing in the area's media to preview an impromptu performance with her newfound European friends, a quartet named Low Tech Groove. A couple weeks later, she's back in the states and properly warmed up to release of her debut solo album, Both/And, this Friday, August 30 at the Gramophone.

Bollinger developed her love affair with music at a very young age, watching her mother, a professional gospel musician, play the piano. She later went on to study jazz performance at Webster University and gigged around town every chance she could get -- in jazz combos, at church, with wedding/party bands and in her first original group, Sarah Speaks Easy. Today, members of the group still act as iterations of her backing band on various stages around town.

Sarah Bollinger's blue-eyed soul fuses elements of influence from a lifetime of listening to vocal greats like Aretha Franklin, Eva Cassidy, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holliday. Her big voice and even bigger heart comes through in each of her smooth, jazz-tinged ballads, which contemplate the complicated juxtapositions of love and life. Her songs showcase a squeaky clean clarity occasionally sprinkled with what she fondly refers to as "St. Louis grit," emphasized by dreamy piano playing and sassy, precise horn pops thanks to members of the Funky Butt Brass Band.

Bollinger recorded her album, which dropped on August 27, with producer Tony Esterle at Shock City Studios, Listen to the ten-track album, Both/And, below and pick up a physical copy this weekend.

We invited Sarah to fill in the blanks ahead of her album release show this weekend Read on to see what she had to say, check out a video and get info on upcoming performances.

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