Sara Thomas
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Sara Thomas

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"Musician just getting started with 'tons of songs'"
Singer-Songwriter Sara Thomas is figuring out the music business while she figures out life itself. 
Born in Little Rock and reared in Benton, Thomas has been writing songs since she was 21. Five years along, and she has begun to let others in on what she has done. A 2000 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in communications, Thomas did some singing while in college as part of a duet, Bev & Sara, along with Beverly Blann.
The two women, who sang on occasion at J.R.'s Ballroom in Fayetteville, would do originals and their versions of songs written by Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and other Lilith Fair-era singer-songwriters. The duo toured a bit, ranging as far afield as San Antonio, and once opened for Pat Green.
A year ago, she recorded and released a homemade five-song EP produced, engineered and played on by a fellow local singer-songwriter, Greg Spradlin, whom she is still thanking. She released it on her own label, Withoutanh Records, named for the lack of an "h" in her first name, she notes.
"Greg ended up doing a lot more work than he thought he would," Thomas recalls. "He did an excellent job on something we tried to do as quickly as possible to send to the folks at South by Southwest. But it was to now avail. I'm still feeling all this out, the music business. I still don't know how all this works.

While listening to some Johnny Cash music, she came up with an idea for a song, "Watch Me Drink," and upbeat song which she wrote through the eyes of an alcoholic. Ideas flowed initially from journal entries she had written, or ideas that came from watching television.

After graduating from college, she lived for a time in Hawaii and sang there in 2002 at the Pearl Harbor celebration on the Fourth of July. She has a state job to keep her in guitar strings for the time being as she learns about rounding up gigs and recording songs. Even private parties are within her scope of interest, and she refers potential fans to her Web site, www.sarathomasband.com.

Besides the Lilith performers, she's also fond of new women singer-songwriters Tift Merritt, Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards.
For her show tonight, she will be accompanied by percussionist Dave Hoffpauir, lead guitarist Steve Hudleston and bassist Chris Michaels (sometimes bassist Jay Gentry is in the lineup, she adds).

She and her band have played around town, opening shows for Brave Combo, Lucero, Patrice Pike, Cary Pierce and Iris Dement at the first Oasis Renewal Center festival in April. Other gigs have been at Dizzy's Grill in Benton, The Poet's Loft in Hot Springs, and, in Little Rock at The Coffee Beanery, The Living Room and Juanita's. She also competed at the Acoustic Showdown at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette




Plan to get out tonight (Thursday, June 12) to catch former Fayettevillian Sara Thomas who will be playing Arsaga's Crossover from 7-9 p.m.
Thomas was one-half of the Bev and Sara duo, popular in Fayetteville from 1998 to 2000. Bev Blann, the other half, became a seminal member of Tyko, while Sara moved to Hawaii and then Little Rock. Tonight's show will be somewhat of a reunion show with Blann and a few other friends joining Thomas.

Also sitting in will be Ben Smith, a singer/songwriter from Russellville. "I was lucky enough to share the stage with him a couple of times. They went so well I asked him to join me at Arsaga's," Thomas said.

After leaving Fayetteville almost three years ago, Thomas headed for Hawaii where she lived for eight months writing and performing on the island of Oahu.

After that, she came back to her hometown of Benton in central Arkansas, where she met drummer Dave Hoffpauir (Ho Hum, The Boondogs). The pair eventually recorded a demo- The Pink EP- that can be previewed at www.sarathomasband.com.

The demo led to the "Sara Thomas Band" which is made up of Thomas, Hoffpauir, guitarist Steve Huddleston, and bassists Chris Michaels (The Boondogs, Beanland) and Jay Gentry. The band has scored opening slots for Iris Dement, Patrice Pike, Cary Pierce, Cooder Graw and Lucero and were selected to compete in this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Just last week, Thomas was chosen as a finalist in the Arkansas Acoustic Showdown in Conway.

"My solo music and the band have two very different sounds though, both are very laid back; it's a very down-to-earth style," Thomas said. "We are a rootsy, Americana genre that I refer to as folk-pop. We get all of those female singer/songwriter comparisons but I don't know how accurate any of them truly are."

In addition to the Arsaga's gig, Thomas will be back in town solo on Saturday, June 21 for the kickoff of the KXUA Summer Cook Out at the Dickson Theater.

- Fayetteville Free Weekly


The Pink EP is a 5-song sample of a brand new band from Little Rock, Arkansas. The core band is Chris Michaels on bass and Dave Hoffpauir on drums (both from Shreveport); Sara Thomas herself sings and plays rhythm guitar. The Pink EP also features Spin South engineer and boy wonder Greg Spradlin on electric guitar. Sara Thomas, who was part of folk duo "Bev & Sara" while in college in Fayetteville, is evolving into an admirable frontwoman with this new project. The acoustic-based band showcases her dreamy, sensual voice on pretty original songs "Passing Fad," "Out the Window," "Travel," "Something Bound to Change," and "Watch Me Drink." The lush, dark melodies and faraway secretive words are suggestive of Cowboy Junkies influence. Sara Thomas is just at the beginning of her career; The Pink EP promises great things to come. www.sarathomasband.com.

K.D. Hobgood, June 2003

- Kathryn Hobgood


Former Fayetteville resident Sara Thomas' new band. Remember her from Bev & Sara? I'll admit I was never a big Bev & Sara fan-it was girl-power minus the power, but this is really good.
Moody songs, acoustic-based band, beautiful as ever voice, good song arrangements. Sara may wake up and find that she's become a huge star one day. 3* - Fayetteville Free Weekly


I know Sara would blanch at being called Arkansas' Sweetheart - but after seeing her performance at Sticky Fingerz last week I couldn't resist (what with Valentines Day and all - sorry Sara! Hope you don't mind too much).
She opened for Patrice Pike (from Austin, Texas) Thursday, February 6th to a full house.

She began her performance solo gently introducing the audience to her acoustic stylings. This low-key beginning made for an intimate setting which was very pleasant.

When she was joined on stage by her band the whole show switched gears. The 4 piece band worked well together, flowing with each other. I believe this grouping is fairly new. Keep up the good work guys! I'm looking forward to hearing more from you.

Her newly released self-titled EP (recorded at SpinSouth Recorders) is both soul felt and moving. (See below to get your own copy - you won't regret it).

She may be Arkansas' Sweetheart, but she can belt out a song when she wants to as the picture to the right testifies!

Sara has just launched her new website: www.sarathomasband.com. Be sure and check it out!

Carrie Gibson - Jam and Toast


Sara Thomas has a unique and eclectic sound, approach, and style. While she is listed in the Adult Alternative section on this site she could just have easily been listed in Acoustic or Rock.

The opening chops on 'Passing Fad' have a country feel. The song could easily be picked up by a country artist for recording. The song is about the realization that she never meant much more to her lover than a passing thing. She comes to the realization that all she felt was nothing to the lover.

'Out The Window' shows off how sexy Sara's voice can be at times. It has a slow rock ballad feel and is accompanied by some nice finger style guitar. It is a song about wanting to just turn everything off after the loss of a love. Sara finds the human emotion and feeling in all her songs. 'Travel' is more upbeat with some strong guitar strumming. Sara's voice is sultry as she asks her would be lover not to make her travel to find him. "I don't want to travel/because traveling's so hard/when I'm so far way from where I want to be."

'Something Bound To Change' again explores lost love. Thomas finds a way to express the way one sees the lover after the love is over. Sara has a keen insight and takes us on journeys we have all been on at some time in our life.

The disc closes with 'Watch Me Drink' a song that really picks up the pace, closing the disc out on a strong note. It is another song that can cross over into the new country genre.

Sara is an artist poised on the edge of success and I look forward to a full length release to see what she is really capable of doing with a full production team.

Dennis Halsey
- The Best Female Musicians



No one went home disappointed. That's the simplest way to describe Lucero's show at the Soundstage Saturday night.

Despite vocalist Ben Nichols' prediction of a mediocre show due to a cold he was suffering, the band played their best show in Conway ever. Todd Gill, formerly of Fayetteville's The Paper Hearts, played his second show with the band. Gill recently moved to Memphis to take over the vacant guitarist slot in the band. He proved that he had what it takes to play with Memphis' best punk-country band.

Nichols says he is excited about having Gill in the band.

"I'm looking forward to working with Todd. He is a great songwriter and guitar player," Nichols said.

The band played a set that lasted well over an hour, and included several new songs. Lucero is playing the South-by-Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, this week. They will embark on an East Coast tour in April playing in New York City, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.

After wrapping that up, they will head back to Memphis to begin working on their new record, which the band will produce themselves. They will be leaving their previous record label, MADJACK records in Memphis. A new label has yet to be announced.

Lucero is scheduled to play at the University of Central Arkansas on March 31 with The North Mississippi All-stars.

On Wednesday, March 26, Nichols will play an acoustic show at Vino's in Little Rock alongside Mulehead's Kevin Kirby.

Also on the bill was the Sara Thomas Band. Sara Thomas, a songwriter from Little Rock, fronts the band. Her smoky vocals and great pop melodies show that she has much promise.

Other highlights of the evening included The Poeboy Society from Little Rock. John Neal heads the band with UCA students Matt Matthews, guitar, and Sean Lindsey, drums, backing him up.

The band played a short set of several catchy pop songs. Neal's voice and on-stage antics set the band apart from your average three-piece garage band.

This was the band's second time to perform in Conway and they were very pleased to be back.

"I thought the show went very well. Lucero sounded great. I was very happy to be a part of it all," Matthews said.

For more information on these bands, visit: www.lucerofamily.net, www.sarathomasband.com, www.thepoeboy.com, or www.soundstageshows.homestead.com.

KODY FORD

- Go & Do Entertainment Guide


We said in this space before the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase began that good songs don't lie. We meant that no matter the genre and no matter what the judges' particular music preferences were, they'd be able to determine the acts with the best songs.
Not that it was easy picking, but it appears from this view that the four acts who have advanced to the Feb. 28 Showcase finals were just that: the ones with the best songs.
Last week, the Sara Thomas Band, a tight outfit with a cute frontwoman who sounds a little like Jewel meets Natalie Merchant and a backing trio of solid musicians, advanced in the fourth semifinal round at Juanita's Cantina Ballroom. Sara and her group edged out Between the Second, Further Down and Deas Veil, a last-second fill-in. Deas Veil, fronted by Wes Blaylock, deserves high praise for rolling in from Russellville on such short notice with the Subcons had to back out because of illness, and they displayed an good original sound that figures only to get better with more time on stage. Blaylock must come by his talent naturally, since his sister, Hannah, and parents make up half of another finalist, the bluegrass-country-pop sounding Lost and Found.
I personally liked what Between the Second was trying to do, which was blend a Tool or A Perfect Circle sound with what might seem like a goth, Evanescence stage appearance. I'm expecting to hear more good things about this band (they play Vino's regularly), as well as the rocking, Finger 11-like sound of Jonesboro's Further Down. Both put on impressive stage shows.
Sara Thomas, a semifinalist last year but significantly improved since then, mixed acoustic driven ballads with peppy rockers, and Ben Harris' fine lead guitar work with the rhythm of drummer David Hoffpauir and bassist Chris Micheals didn't hurt one bit.
The PoeBoy Society, fronted by the energetic and Jagger-channeling John Neal, won the first semifinal on Jan. 22. Fayetteville jazz- and reggae-influenced jam band Grandpa's Goodtime Fandango was the second week winner. Those two along with Hannah Blaylock and Lost and Found and the Sara Thomas Band will face off in a week at Juanita's to claim this year's title of Best Original Music Band in Arkansas.
The winner will receive $200 in music equipment from the Guitar Center, food from Trio's restaurant, a web-site design by Kelly Franklin, 10 hours of recording time from Doghouse studio in west Little Rock, a photo shoot by the Times' Brian Chilson, ad space in the Times, beer from Harbor Distributing and more.
But how many times have we said it's not the prizes for the winner, but the exposure; and you'll be doing yourselves a favor to catch these four diverse acts in one setting at Juanita's, starting at 9:30 Feb. 28. We'll have some juicy door prizes, including a weekend at Summit House Apartment Homes.
- Jim Harris - Arkansas Times - 2/20/04


Discography

The Pink EP
[full length album, soon to be released]

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"Moody songs, acoustic-based band, beautiful as ever voice, good song arrangements. Sara may wake up and find that she's become a huge star one day."

Singer/songwriter Sara Thomas projects an eclectic, unapologetic sound -- part rock-and-roll and part folk accompanied by extremely intimate, poetic lyrics. "I write what I know; I just want to write a good song," says the 26-year-old Arkansas native.

While attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Sara began her performing career with the acoustic duo of Bev and Sara along with singer/songwriter, Beverly Blann (Tyko, The New Tragedies). The two lit up the local scene opening for acts like Pat Green and Cross Canadian Ragweed. In 2000, the duo was awarded a spot in the Girls Rock Festival held at the Howling Wolf in New Orleans.

After graduating, Sara left for the island of Oahu where she joined Kim Char Meredith and Darlyne Cain to participate in "Women with Guitars," an acoustic showcase with performances at Planet Hollywood and the annual Pearl Harbor 4th of July Celebration.

Now back in Arkansas, Sara is joined by drummer Dave Hoffpauir (Ho Hum, The Boondogs), guitarist Ben Harris and bassist Chris Michaels (The Boondogs, Beanland). Around town they're known as the "Sara Thomas Band" and have opened for Avion, Mary Lou Lord & Iris Dement, just to name a few.

They were selected to compete as semi-finalists in the 2003 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase and were runners up in 2004. In May 2003 & 2005 Thomas was chosen as a solo finalist (along with Michaels in 05) in the Arkansas Acoustic Showdown in Conway, AR, & performed ahead of Brad Paisley at Arkansas RiverFest 2004.

"My solo music and the band are two different sounds though, both are extremely laid back. "We are a rootsy, Americana genre that I refer to as folk-pop," Thomas said. "We get all of those female singer/songwriter comparisons but I don't know how accurate any of them truly are."

The band is currently in the studio recording their first full length album. Look for it soon!

For booking, e-mail booking@sarathomasband.com.