Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Entourage is one of those words that requires a closer look every now and then. For one thing, I keep forgetting it’s French, like sabotage. And while it translates tightly to “that which surrounds” it has waves of nuance. The way carrying a bag is not the same as having baggage. “Entourage” refers not only literally to the stuff you carry with you, but also the people who come with you; and not only the stuff, but the karma.

So the entourage traveling with Rachael Sage had very good karma. A wonderful group of people, and after Rachael’s Friday night show at Rockwood, I spent a little time with her group, including her gregarious booking mananger, her quite sane tour manager (who attended the same university I did) and her partner, and her luminous PR manager.

(Seth Glier also appeared, but he deserves his own post, and I’ll save him for a few days)

For anyone hitting the venues on the Lower East Side, there is a nice little creperie down the block (on Ludlow) from The Living Room. You can get sweet or savory (I had an artichoke tapenade crepe the following night) and their best seller seems to be the inexpensive nutella crepe. The crepestress entered carrying what appeared to be a month’s worth of the stuff.

Everything you’ve read about Rachael Sage is probably true. You could draw a straight line between a indie-tinged songstress in a coffeehouse to Sarah McLachlan, and Rachael would be someone in the middle, weaving back and forth in unusual melodies. The lyrics come from unexpected places sometimes, glancing off you at surprising angles. She just won the Grand Prize in the Great American Song Contest (yes, those are two pictures down the page a bit) for “Hunger in John” which begins with the line “He was so poor/that he did his own laundry with his own tears”…

What’s curious is how different she presents on stage than her recorded self suggests. On the recording she is a serious chanteuse, singing with Intent, mournful, wistful, and never more than puckish. In person she wears he hair in a shade that makes you look twice and wears something looking like fishnets on her arms, and is prone to joshing and quickwittedness between songs, lapsing at times into borscht belt cadences.

One member of the audience was an over-effusive fan, a large and loud fellow, who was intent on making sure everyone know just how much he was enjoying the show. Rachael handled him like a pro, joshing back, directing everyone’s attention back to the music, giving him a little radiant attention from time to time and even improvising a ditty about him.

This is the point where I’m compelled to say that Rachael has just released her eighth (?) CD, Chandelier, containing her winning song and 12 other pieces (including an instrumental cut). Available wherever you’re getting your music these days. And while you will want to download it, you may want to spring for the CD to have the lyrics, photos and artwork.

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