Review: Sari Schorr & The Engine Room – 'A Force Of Nature'

”I took a giant leap of faith, and wanted to work with her based on gut instinct”. Sheesh, talk about pressure. Thankfully, Sari Schorr repaid his confidence in spades, with an album that more than lives up to any expectations that he might have had. With heartbreaking songs that would bring a tear to a glass eye, and a maelstrom of hellacious guitar that will have grown men weeping, Sari Schorr and her band, The Engine Room, have produced an album as complete as any you might expect to hear this year. Dragging the Blues Rock genre kicking and screaming into today’s climate, but at the same time paying homage to the beginnings of Blues music. ’Ain’t Got No Money’ deals with Wall Street bankers, ’Aunt Hazel’ a harrowing story of heroin abuse, ’Damn The Reason’ is a tale of domestic violence, and ‘Demolition Man’ is about legalized prostitution from a female point of view. Classic storytelling giving a voice to those who do not have one. #GenerationFucked. Like any modern day female vocalist with a sultry, gritty voice and fire in her belly, Sari Schorr has been compared to Janis Joplin, a fine tribute indeed, and perhaps Robert Plant could be added to the list of comparisons? They both have a mystical quality that seems to have skipped a few generations, but if you are looking for a more modern day comparison, then Beth Hart is a good place to start, especially on the harder edged ‘Damn The Reason’, which could drop a rampaging rhino to it’s knees. The Robert Plant connection continues with Sari Schorr’s choice of guitar player in The Engine Room. Innes Sibun played with Plant on his Fate Of Nations tour, as well as featuring on the albums ‘66 To Timbuktu’ and ‘Nine Lives’. He is a player with immense talent and feeling that Sari Schorr feeds off to great effect. On an album that features both Walter Trout and Oli Brown as guest players, it’s to Sibun’s credit that his contribution is immeasurable. Check out the solo’s on the astonishing cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Black Betty’, or his slide work on ‘Demolition Man’. Also seek out his ‘Superstitious’ or ‘East Monroe’ albums from years ago. Such a highly valued, yet criminally underrated, guitarist. Mixed in with the original material are two covers of the highest quality. The aforementioned ‘Black Betty’ is sublime. The slowed down, heavier arrangement works on so many different levels. When the intro fades out and the full band come in on the one minute mark, it truly is hair-raising, and you will never be able to listen to Ram Jam’s version ever again. Likewise, her version of the Motown classic ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love’ is simply stunning, and she breathes new vigour into the ol’ chestnut. Don’t think that the album rests on its covers. Originals, ’Kiss Me’, ’Ain’t Got No Money’, and closing track ‘Ordinary Life’ are just three different examples of the magnitude of the album, and each one remains with the listener for some time after. The mark of a great song. It’s fair to say that Mike Vernon made the correct decision in postponing retirement. ’A Force Of Nature’ is released through Manhaton Records on September 2nd, and if you like your Blues with an honest, human face to it, then get your preorder in now. Review by Dave Stott]]>

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