You may not have heard of her yet, but if this album is any indication, this could be the one to make her a household name, and that name is Sandra McCracken. McCracken, the Nashville-based independent singer/songwriter who’s newest release, “Desire Like Dynamite”, is garnering her quite a bit of positive attention. McCracken’s style is one part folk music, one part gospel, a little part pop, with a bit of country flair thrown in for good measure, almost a blending if you will of all of the fundamentals of American music and somehow manages to mix together it with a seamless effort that makes an amazing and powerful album.
McCracken lists her own personal musical influences as Joni Mitchell, David Gray, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, and with influences as diverse as that, it’s no surprise that McCracken’s music is just as diverse.
The album’s opening track, “Go”, captivates the listener with simple music and McCracken’s delicate and angelic voice. A voice that is delicate yet direct, soulful yet simple, rich and warm. Not to mention the insanely catchy hook to the song and its beautiful and inspiring lyrics, “Brave girl, you are smart/Go when your heart is strong and is steady” An instant radio hit if there ever was one.
Sandra McCracken’s “Go”
Following that track on the album, is the much more dramatic, rich and warm track called “Hourglass”. McCracken layers her voice, with a simple arrangement of acoustic guitar and a very stripped down song. It shows a fragility to her voice, and yet an epic quality to her music. Then there are tracks on the album that absolutely surprise, like the track “Gridlock”. “Gridlock” from the first tinkles on the piano to McCracken’s voice, before you know it – when the band kicks in – you realize the sound of the song is a throwback to the female do-whop days, that actually bleeds over into the old school Country music realm with artists like Patsy Cline.
Another stand out track on the album is the exceptionally heartfelt and emotional, “Fall On Me”. McCracken’s voice lends a certain vulnerability to the song, plus with the addition of the backing vocals from Derek Webb of Caedmon’s Call, and also McCracken’s husband make the song utterly breathtaking. Webb also served as co-producer on the album with McCracken, and perhaps it is their tales of love, struggle and strife that bleeds through into the songs.
As a whole, the album itself is a very deep and very personal effort. The type of songs that any listener can relate to, associate with and even feel like they are being spoken too on a level that seems almost direct. Which actually makes some type of sense, McCracken recently said of the album that, “Desire Like Dynamite” is exploring the themes of desire at the most basic human level,” explains McCracken. “When you run after something, when you really want something, that can be a good and noble thing, or it can be self-centered. And at some point, your desire is going to intersect with somebody else’s, and that’s where relationships come into play. The whole album is about exploring the human story by way of that theme.”
For more information on Sandra McCracken, or to purchase or download the album, or any of her previous releases, make sure to log on to her website at http://www.sandramccracken.com/
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor