Music Reviews Sara Bareilles
“The Blessed Unrest” (Epic Records)
There’s a sweet way Sara Bareilles sings about her breakup on her new album. She’s soft on the honeyed, piano pop gems that make up “The Blessed Unrest,” her voice is solid and her lyrics are strong.
On “Hercules,” Bareilles is tough, singing passionate lines such as: “This is my darkest hour, a long road has led me out here, but I only need turn around to face the light, and decide flight or fight.” She’s ready to fight for love on the tender “1000 Times,” where she proclaims “‘cause I would die to make you mine, you bleed me dry each and every time.”
Bareilles knows how to craft a great song. She doesn’t rely on hooks to grab you in; it’s her lyrics.
While Bareilles is getting over love on the 12-track set, she isn’t down and out the entire time: “I Choose You,” a beautiful song about falling in love, could make anyone’s irritating day better.
And on the lead single, “Brave,” she’s encouraging a friend to come out of the closet: “Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly I want to see you be brave.”
Well done. Court Yard Hounds
The Court Yard Hounds open their second album, “Amelita,” with a portrait of a friend who wallows in negativity. But the arrangement and lyrics of “Sunshine” express how this sisterly duo isn’t going to let their downer friend dampen their day.
The breezy, buoyantly melodic song is a perfect introduction to a collection of songs that find two members of the Dixie Chicks expressing joy in music once again — a drastic shift from their self-titled first album and from the dark musings found on the recent solo debut of their longtime singing partner, Natalie Maines.
Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire keep on the sunny side for most of “Amelita,” concocting a distinct acoustic blend rife with life-affirming energy and clever, engaging lyrics to match. Robison sounds more confident as a lead vocalist. And the writing of the two sisters, sometimes with guitarist Martin Strayer, Robison’s recently wed husband, takes on a shine reminiscent of the blissful elation of early Chicks hits such as “Wide Open Spaces.”Mesfin Fekadu The Associated Press Michael Mccall The Associated Press