Seattle Living Room Shows came to The Triple Door last week and the air was buzzing with anticipation. Crowds of people laughed and hugged, genuinely happy to see each other. The venue was dark as always. But it was the brightness of Seattle’s Americana sweetheart, Sarah Gerritsen, that brought these people together for the release of her latest album, Angeline.
After a solid set from power vocal duo Hallstromm, who gave the night a light dusting of country, came another Seattle favorite, The Banner Days. Bradford Loomis was spot on as he described how “Sarah knows literally everyone. There is nobody that knows more people than Sarah.” The sweet and lovable Beth Whitney chimed in, “it’s like she really wants to be your friend.”
There are definitely elements of Gerritsen’s bubbly personality that come across in her music, yet in the nine tracks of Angeline, the fans will see so much more.
Solid drum beats coming from all sides quiet a chatty crowd as Clint McCune and Aaron Brouillette hit their djembe’s and slowly make their way to the stage to meet the Shadow Catchers. The drum beat grows as Carina Lewis (vocalist) and Natalie Vandeven (vocalist and violinist) flank Gerritsen as she makes her way to the microphone. Beautifully executed three part harmonies ring out to accompany the drums as they open the show with the album’s title track “Angeline.”
The stage movement throughout the night is as smooth and seamless as Gerritsen’s intoxicating vocals. She moves from guitar to piano as the music slides from Americana to a more soulful feel, the vocal support from Vandeven and Lewis take it to another place high above the clouds. The dichotomy of these three voices together created something different and magical at the same time. Accompanied with a unique blend of strings and percussion, it’s almost impossible to define where these songs belong in a genre.
The shadow catchers exit the stage momentarily leaving Gerritsen and Jacob Navarro. They take a seat, both on stools, as Gerritsen describes how the next song was written for her father about his time working in a cannery, then being recruited to play college basketball in the middle of the night. Gerritsen gracefully ushered the crowd into that intimate moment that transported the audience straight into that piece of her past.
The band comes back out to join her as she dedicates one of her last tunes to her vibrant seven year old daughter Grace. “There came a moment,” Gerritsen strums the guitar and talks to the crowd like a best friend over a good glass of wine. “Where I was teaching my daughter about following her dreams and how to pursue things. And I thought, I can’t just tell her, I have to show her . . . and I have some things to pursue.” The song “Dreamer” reminds everyone, child to adult alike, that there is beauty in exploring stories by creating art.
Gerritsen and the Shadow Catchers don’t just put on a show. They pour their souls out on stage, bringing the listener to a relaxed thought-provoking place. The combined swooping vocals, solid strings, and honest lyrics can be likened to the feeling of driving through the country in the sun, windows down, and good company along for the ride. With stories to tell, talent, and the unwavering support of the Seattle music community Gerritsen has helped create, the sky is the limit.
You can hear a live in studio performance and interview with Sarah on the SMI Radio Podcast.