Sarah Siskind
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Sarah Siskind


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter




""My new favorite artist.""

Bonnie Raitt was introduced to Sarah's music by mutual friend Paul Brady and she quickly became a fan.

She asked Siskind to attend one of her shows in the fall of 2009 and introduced Sarah from stage, calling her her "new favorite artist", continued by a heartfelt dedication of "Angel From Montgomery" to Siskind.

Shortly after, she spun Sarah's track "Dress Me Up" on an LA radio station during a guest DJ hour.

She calls Sarah's album "a masterpiece." - Bonnie Raitt


National Public Radio has featured Sarah an impressive five times since the 2009 release of 'Say it Louder' including "World Cafe Live", "Bob Boilen's Tiny Desk Concerts", "NPR's Song of the Day", and two features on "All Songs Considered".

On the Valentine's Day edition of "All Songs Considered", Siskind's "Lovin's for Fools" was featured, which was made popular by Bon Iver, but Siskind's version was called "perfect" by NPR. - NPR National Public Radio

""SAY IT LOUDER wins Americana Album of the Year!""

Taylor Swift Wins Top Artist and Songwriter Honors at Revived Nashville Music Awards

October 7, 2009 (Nashville, TN): Taylor Swift was the big winner at the Nashville Music Awards tonight, collecting three trophies during a reception at the Cannery Ballroom. The 19-year old Big Machine recording artist was named Artist of the Year and Songwriter/Artist of the Year, with her album Fearless earning Country Album of the Year honors.

Presented by Leadership Music in partnership with music festival and conference Next Big Nashville (NBN), the Nashville Music Awards were established to recognize outstanding contributions in all genres of music and to celebrate the diversity and quality of artists and music professionals who call Nashville their home.

After a welcome from Mayor Karl Dean, Leadership Music executive director Kira Florita and board member Robert K. Oermann, winners were announced in 19 categories by NMA nominating committee co-chairs Jason Moon Wilkins, Director and Owner of Next Big Nashville, Tracy Gershon and Oermann.

New Artist of the Year honors went to Lady Antebellum, with Brooke Waggoner claiming the Next Big Nashville Award for best emerging artist and Jack White named top instrumentalist.

Liz Rose was voted Songwriter of the Year on the strength of recent cuts by artists such as Jewel, Jypsi and frequent co-writer Taylor Swift. “The Time of My Life,” written by Regie Hamm and sung by “American Idol” winner David Cook, was named Song of the Year.

In addition to Swift’s Country album victory, genre album winners were the Steeldrivers (Bluegrass), Sarah Siskind (Americana), April Rucker (Urban), Jars of Clay (Gospel/Contemporary Christian), Take 6 (Jazz/Blues) and Kings of Leon (Pop/Rock).

The Made in Music City award for a Nashville recording made by a non-resident went to Elvis Costello’s Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, produced by T Bone Burnett and recorded at Sound Emporium Studio.

Landmark Digital Services, LLC was recognized as Innovator of the Year for its BlueArrow Audio Recognition.

The evening’s final honor, the Heritage Award, was given by the Leadership Music Board of Directors to the Fisk Jubilee Singers; FJS musical director Paul Kwami accepted.

This year marks the first partnership between Leadership Music and Next Big Nashville for this awards presentation, held on the opening night of the NBN festival. The NMAs previously were produced from 1995 through 2000 by Leadership Music. The 2009 winners were chosen by popular vote via online balloting. Eligible recordings or projects must have been active in the marketplace between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 and NMA awards are limited to persons and organizations residing in Davidson County and surrounding counties.

The Nashville Music Award trophy was designed and donated by George P. Johnson, one of the foremost experience marketing agencies in the world, now with a facility in Nashville. It is crafted from translucent acrylic to reflect the spirit and creativity that the winners represented. - Nashville Music

""Prolific songwriter Sarah Siskind's strong mix of folk, country and pop has caught the ear of the music world.""

August 17, 2009 from WXPN - Prolific songwriter Sarah Siskind's strong mix of folk, country and pop has caught the ear of the music world. Americana icon Alison Krauss recorded Siskind's "Simple Love" on an album in 2007, earning a Grammy nomination for the track. And, after performing her song "Lovin's for Fools" on tour, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver invited Siskind to share some tour dates.

Siskind's parents, both old-time bluegrass musicians, helped cultivate her love of music. She grew to love her parents' favorite sounds, as well as more contemporary styles. By age 14, she had completed her first album. On her latest recording, Say It Louder, the Nashville-based performer's powerful, earthy voice is a nice match for her down-to-earth music. - WXPN Radio, Philadelphia

""She's A Superstar""

REVIEW WRITTEN BY FRANK GOODMAN/PUREMUSIC: It only happens once in a while. A singer just hits you right in your heart, and you start breathing more shallowly. And you notice that you’re holding on, and then you have to let go. And then it’s all over but the crying. This woman just kills me. She’s got an awesome heart. And you meet people in life that do, and it’s always transforming. But when some of those people have a voice that can channel that quality with such power and beauty, it’s truly mesmerizing.

This very limited, hand-made (one at a time) recording is precious to me. One disc is Studio, the other is Living Room. Even Studio is very sparse, very live, incredibly intimate. It was produced by Fognode, a highly regarded undergrounder of Nashville, who also played drums, pedal steel and percussion. The Flecktones’ Jeff Coffin contributes stellar moments of saxophone, flute and chimes. Dave Dawson plays synth and percussion. The archetypal artist (to me, she’s like a character out of The Mists Of Avalon) plays guitar and piano and sings like she’s at the Lord’s right hand.

She is rare in other ways. The child of musicians, she was already writing songs at 11, and cut her first record at 14. (And if you know anyone who made a record at 14 with a title even remotely like Horizon Cries, we’re keen to hear about them.) Sarah has her musical tentacles into various genres, but she has strong bluegrass roots. In fact, the first song on Living Room, "Simple Love," was cut by Alison Krauss and released on her recent CD, A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection.

Witness the power of the artist evidenced by the fact that the Living Room disc actually overpowers the embellished companion disc in its sheer presence. This woman is huge; she’s a superstar. She’s getting ready to record a new disc as this review is being written, and that will be a true event. And yet, she told me at a recent bluegrass show with her great side group Old Black Kettle (featuring powerhouse vocalists Julie Lee and Jodi Haynes, the daughter of Connie Smith) that she doesn’t know if she is suited to or looking for the limelight. As far as we’re concerned, she’d have to run in the opposite direction to avoid it at this point.

Get this incredible handmade disc. And buy her first one, Covered (it featured Bill Frisell; see the Puremusic review of Covered here). One of the greatest under the radar talents we’ve ever encountered. • Frank Goodman, -

""Live and Amazing at the IAC""

THE Donaghy Theater space at Manhattan’s Irish Arts Center (IAC) is one of those small spaces that comes up larger than life for certain shows because of the intimacy it affords. Some performances radiate beyond the 99 seat capacity and make those in attendance keenly aware that they are sharing that space and time where quality outshines quantity anytime.

Recently, the spotlight fell on two singer-songwriters who were brought in together in an artistic collaborative venture that heralded the beginning of one of the more ambitious and welcome initiatives to come out of the 38-year-old grassroots organization.

Though one artist was twice the age of the other, there was no fear of a generation gap, but rather close parallels that served as the foundation for this unique opportunity that provided both fascinating musical entertainment and insight into the craft of performing personal songs.

The twinning of Paul Brady from Co. Tyrone with Sarah Siskind of North Carolina for the inaugural “Masters in Collaboration: Ireland’s Musical Greats in Partnership with a New Generation of Artists, Paul Brady Meets Sarah Siskind� was an inspired beginning for what one hopes will be many such shows.

The concept grew out of discussions between Dr. Mick Moloney, the pre-eminent Irish music expert in the U.S. based at New York University, and Aidan Connolly, the executive director of the Irish Arts Center since last March.

One institution is hardly enough to handle the proliferating programming ideas of Moloney, so he found a willing ally in Connolly, who relishes the opportunity for the IAC to pursue and embrace more interdisciplinary platforms especially for music for its adaptable venue and present day cultural agenda.

Moloney immediately thought of his old flat-mate and band member from the Johnstons, Paul Brady, as the first master to be invited and he coaxed him into participating. Brady, in turn, sought out the younger Siskind based in Nashville, where they first met at a Maura O’Connell concert.

Both agreed to come to the Big Apple for a week and explore one another’s music to see what they could say to one another and to a live audience at the end of their personal workshop. Both share a serious dedication to the craft of songwriting and expressing their feelings through their voices, which is paramount to their music because of their vivid storytelling images.

A very important part of the project was a relatively last minute inclusion of a live interview in the Donaghy Theater which gave a midweek glance at how the creative juices were flowing and melding, and in the deft questioning by compere Moloney himself which provided greater context and rationale.

Those in attendance learned much about the artists and their approach to music and performance. It turned out to be a very important component because it helped break the tedium of the intense rehearsals going on right up to last day that both exacting artists felt were necessary to do their best at the Saturday gig.

There was still an air of mystery and intrigue (read uncertainty) to the whole affair from all sides with a vested interest in the Saturday concert that really translated into added excitement for the show itself.

The Donaghy Theater was well lit, a soundman familiar with both artists imported from Nashville, a Steinway grand piano on stage along with an electronic keyboard and multiple guitars set the scene for the artists to do what they do best, entertain.

An evenhanded approach worked all evening, with 10 songs from each composer alternating lead vocals and harmonies when called upon as well as a fluid choreography from instrument to instrument in the tight stage quarters.

In their favor were a very receptive and eclectic audience who thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative efforts and highly personal approach that each artist was taking and their deference to one another which revealed no favoritism.

The only edge was in the music they selected, which served as an attraction to one another in the first place and made this project so appealing.

When an audience is so close like this, live shows — especially of the type you have never done before like this — can be risky, but the warmth and genuine response of the crowd gave it more of a cabaret ambience where the artists quickly established a personal connection offering reassurance that something special was happening.

In post concert conversations with both Brady and Siskind, it was surprising that the veteran performer admitted to being more nervous up to and during the performance. Though Brady has worked in a number of bands like the Johnstons and Planxty and for a brief time in a duo with Andy Irvine and fronting his own touring band at times, he has pretty much been “a lone wolf� who likes to create his own scene or move more comfortably through his own material.

Siskind found herself “at ease� for the gig, and felt that all the work and preparation would pay off and that she was gratified to be working with an artist who treated her with mutual respect and attention.

Brady’s demeanor on stage came across more relaxed than other times that I have seen him throughout his career, and his smiling overtures and genuine compliments to his new-found partner of the week suggested a comfort level that was borne out by the overall success of the venture and performance.

Still it was 24 hours after the concert when long-time pal and instigator Moloney finally convinced Paul that it was an outstanding success.

“That I was quite unprepared for his enthusiasm as he is a taciturn guy generally and I wasn’t used to him showing his emotions so freely but he finally convinced me that something special happened,� Brady told me by phone.

“You work so hard all week and see that some things that were difficult in practice came out okay, and the audience was responding all night. The rushes came to Sarah and me at the same time and the things that excited us in rehearsal excited us on stage. You knew it had to be successful.�

The final indicator of that to this long-time observer of Brady’s music was the first song of their encore when it was time for Brady “to do this one song on his own� Siskind revealed.

The first chords on the guitar brought instant reaction from the audience, who recognized the phenomenal finger work that influenced a generation of pickers in Irish music. It was the intro to his signature song “Arthur McBride and the Sergeant.�

Firmly on familiar turf, he unfurled the big story of British Army recruiting efforts in as dramatic and comical a fashion as I have ever seen him perform. As he expressed it he was “giddy with a certain amount of emotional release� by that time of the night.

Earlier in the week, he told us that he learned the song here in America shortly after the Johnstons broke up in America and he ventured out on his own in the early 1970s.

Ironically his first testing ground for the song and his solo act was at one of weekly seisiuns then hosted by an itinerant Irish Arts Center at a place called Monk’s Park on Park Avenue South in the 20s right before moving to its present home in Hell’s Kitchen.

The rather boisterous upstairs room drew still and quiet whenever Brady would begin to sing and play the guitar and it was clear then a brighter future awaited him. Few then could imagine the success that awaited him or that of the Irish Arts Center in those days, but from one very magic week in New York in February those early seeds are very much bearing fruit today.

And it will continue to expand and grow with great potential for tomorrow that will include artists like Sarah Siskind and so many others.

- Irish Voice, NYC


Words in the Air (1996) Six Songs of Mine (1999), Covered (2002), Studio.Living Room (2006), Old Black Kettle's Live album (2008)
Say it Louder (2009)



Sarah Siskind has been called "the best female singer/songwriter in America today" (Steve Binder, legendary TV director/producer) and "an artist you must hear now" by SPIN. She has toured with Bon Iver (he has also famously covered her "Lovin's For Fools") and The Swell Season, written songs for Alison Krauss (the GRAMMY nominated "Simple Love") and Randy Travis. Sarah has performed live on NPR's Tiny Desk, World Cafe with David Dye and her music has been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered and NPR's Song Of The Day. Her previous album, Say It Louder, was called "a masterpiece" by Bonnie Raitt.

In July of 2010, Sarah Siskind found herself thousands of miles from her Tennessee home in a small ranch house just outside of Boulder. Escaping the oppressive southern summer heat for six weeks, she took temporary roots in Colorado while teaching songwriting at a nearby festival and touring the southwest. Her intent was to finish writing the songs for her new album, Novel, during her downtime.

Just out of a five-year publishing deal on Nashville’s Music Row, Sarah was inspired by the idea of exploring her sound as a musician and her vision as an artist. Bathing in this newfound freedom, her creativity burgeoned and she was soon setting up a microphone in the spare bedroom and hitting record.

It began with the recording of a simple guitar and vocal track for "Nowhere In The Middle", a song that explores the dangers of loving someone too much. Unable to put the track away, she found herself in the kitchen pantry grabbing salt canisters, dry rice, and oatmeal boxes to create a percussion section. She made a snare out of a storage box with sheets of paper taped to the top. Swept away by the muse, Sarah would continue to record the rest of the songs this way, finishing it with just one microphone, several guitars (including her beloved Gibson, Larry), and "found sounds” from her home back in Nashville. Sarah engineered, tracked and produced “Novel” with no boundaries, no one else in the room, on her own.

Despite her isolation, the theme of the album became human connection and no single song onNovel illustrates that better than the title track, a song that reminisces about ‘old-fashioned’ pre-internet friendship and courtship. “Growing up, the thought of using technology to connect with another human never crossed my mind," says Sarah. "People dropped by, there were hours upon hours of sitting on a floor talking with friends and family, and we listened to and played music together."

Novel's lead track is "Yellow and Blue", an Alice in Wonderland-esque take on wandering into uncharted territory, whether it be a stranger's garden or a new relationship. "I had the most vividimagination as a child, always craving that buzz of a new experience...I hope I never lose that."What follows is songwriting study touching on emotional chapters we all face: shouting up to ask for relief ("Take Me"), falling head over heels ("Feeling For You", "I Think About Love"), breaking down ("Crying On A Plane", "You're Still There"), children growing up and out ("Welcome Home"), and fighting with and for love ("Nowhere In The Middle", "Rescue You"). The closing track is a raw and chugging version of the spiritual "Didn't It Rain", made famous by Mahalia Jackson. The tambourine sounds are children's instruments Sarah strapped to her ankles.

Sarah makes jewelry from charms, beads and the like that she finds while on the road and sells them on Etsy and at her live gigs. Though wheat/dairy free, Sarah can (thankfully) still drink good beer and shares recipes, tips and restaurant/brewery suggestions on her food blog. Born and raised in North Carolina, she makes her home in Nashville, TN.

"My favourite singer of the moment!"
- Paul Brady

"SAY IT LOUDER named Americana Album of the Year via Nashville Music Awards 2009!"
- Nashville Music Awards

"I love her songwriting and artistry."
- Amy Grant

"SAY IT LOUDER is one of the best records ever made."
- "Big Al" Anderson (NRBQ)

"Bonnie Raitt lists Sarah among her new favorite artits and calls SAY IT LOUDER "a masterpiece!""
- Bonnie Raitt

"If Joni Mitchell had grown up in the South, she'd sound something like Sarah Siskind."
- Vincent Wynne , Listen!Nashville

"This might be the 'Tapestry' of the millennium!"
- Al Kooper (Bob Dylan)

"Utterly Captivating!"
- Performing Songwriter

"This woman is huge; she's a superstar."
- Frank Goodman,

"SAY IT LOUDER chosen as NPR's Song of the Day July 16!"
- National Public Radio (Jul 16, 2009)