One of the great things about music is that you never know where your next favorite artist is going to come from. Sara Petite is a singer-songwriter who was raised in a tulip-farming town in Washington. She now calls San Diego home. But more than just calling it home, she has found it to be a place where she thrives. Her band has been named San Diego’s best country/Americana band four times.
The new album Rare Bird shows why Petite has earned such acclaim in her adopted San Diego. She shows that she can sing a ballad as well as Loretta Lynn and bring sass to a song like Wanda Jackson.
The album begins with “Feeling like an Angel”. With its slow tempo and twangy melody, this feels like a song that will be played a lot on jukeboxes in dark bars and honky tonks. It’s not just the melody and the tempo that make this a potential jukebox hit. The theme of a one-night stand is perfect for folks who don’t mind a good time with no obligations.
You can hear a spirit similar to Sarah Shook and The Disarmers in some of these songs. “Scars” is a pretty good example. This is a heartfelt song with lyrics like, “I guess you learn to see the beauty watching pieces of your life fall to the floor.” The similarity to Sarah Shook comes in the fact the song is mostly a ballad, but there are points where the volume – especially in the guitar – increases with more rock sounds than country.
This isn’t an album full of sad songs, although she does those particularly well. “The Misfits” is an uptempo song that was made for singing along. You’ll especially want to belt out the chorus, “We are the misfits. We are the ones. We are the rebels with those smoking guns. “Crash, Boom, Bang” is another one that is sure to get you stomping your boots. The vocals sound heavily influenced by Wanda Jackson while the slide guitar brings Sonny Landreth to mind.
It’s pretty clear that Petite has immersed herself in classic country music that has filled honky tonks forever. She has also paid a fair amount of attention to the stories in classic country songs. Her lyrics are earnest. Her melodies are perfect whether you’re dancing by yourself or looking for company toward the end of an evening. On top of that, she has managed to make an album that you will want to share with all your friends.