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CD REVIEW: Sarah Donner - That Is a Pegasus

by: Cyrus Rhodes



"brilliant Kazoo playing, and more"




Artist: Sarah Donner
Album: That Is a Pegasus
Label: CatLady Records

Genre: Alternative Rock, Alternative Folk, Singer-Songwriter  
Sounds Like: Feist, Bjork, Alanis Morissette, Florence and the Machine, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mazzy Star, Edie Brickell, No Doubt, Tori Amos
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Signal, Things I Believe In, Sightlines, Daniel, Seine

Weakness: A few short sided songs, a few winded songs, gaudy and explicit  lyrical content




Sarah Donner is a rockstar catlady kind of girl. She works the stage with a rhythmic guitar style, a fresh melodic line, and a candid stage presence that is all Sarah Donner. Her third album Typing Is Dangerous is now available on CD Baby, iTunes, and eMusic. Her latest CD is entitled “That is a Pegasus” (2014). This is her fifth release to date.


The CD kicks things off with the “Signal” a dynamic intro piece that serves up inviting instrumentation, well-crafted melody and warm vocal presence from Donner. I love the bass groove and rhythm section on this one. This first track is comparable to a warm blanket or inviting welcoming mat. Track 2 “With Pride” shifts gears a bit with its infectious Folk-rhythm guitar painted against impressive musical build, heartfelt vocal delivery and grand slam chorus. Track 3: “Perfect Time” showcases even more songwriting brilliance from Donner. This piece delivers flawless Piano accents and impressive vocal presence from Donner that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical textures reminiscent of classic vocal acts as Alanis Morissette, Feist, Bjork, Florence and the Machine, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mazzy Star, Edie Brickell, No Doubt and Tori Amos. Despite this her sound is highly original and extremely hard to pigeonhole. The music itself combines classic elements of earthy Folk Rock with an aftertaste of Alternative Rock, Quirky Pop, Progressive Americana, and Alternative Folk. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere which besides the 4 piece standard includes impressive guitar ambience/chops, guitar, strings, kazoo, sporadic percussive accents, piano, effective rhythms, electronic beats and sampling, electronic percussion accents, impressive piano and keyboard chops and well placed vocal harmonies layered everywhere. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, world class instrumentation via Donner’s honey coated vocal delivery. Zeroing in now on Donner – her voice goes down smooth as she makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection. Donner can hold your attention well during some of the CD’s solitary moments. She has impressive power and showcases a strong Mezzo Soprano vocal skillet. She has good instincts behind the microphone and her flw and ebb is very compatible to the flow of the music. This is not as easy as it sounds and when done properly will stop you I your tracks. Donner executes the pin drop moments well clearly proving she is an artist worthy of your attention and praise. If she wrote all these songs she could be bigger than any of us realize at the moment. The mix is brilliant! Other Engineering aspects check out nicely. CD possess thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. From invigorating “Perspective” to defiant "The rebuttal of Schrodinger's Cat" to jumpy "Let Him Go" to rock steady "Daniel" to impassioned "Misunderstood" this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “Rogue” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.


All songs under 3 minutes feel like incomplete statements to me. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Some of the gaudy and explicit  lyrical content may not be for everyone.


From start to “That is a Pegasus” by Sarah Donner provides brilliant Kazoo playing, and more. It's an amazing collection of music. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalogue. All pieces are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove and musical personality to call its own. The writing and playing abilities of Donner and her band are rock solid, the catalogue is highly diversified, Artistically eccentric, powerful, real and entertaining. Last but not least the vocal presence and amazing songwriting abilities of Sarah Donner just makes the whole thing work. She is an infectious artist that knows how to sing you a song, and occupy a special place in your heart with her amazing and vivid artistry.  


Cyrus Rhodes

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