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Sara Jackson-Holman
When You Dream
(self-released)


Torch-lit cabaret pop is singer-songwriter-pianist Sara Jackson-Holman's forte. Her new CD When You Dream shows facets relatable to April Smith's sultry purring and Regina Spektor's percolating keyboard-driven melodies. Joined by a strong ensemble of musicians that includes Skyler Norwood on drums, Nate Crocket on violin and viola, Jules Radkins on double bass, Jack Norwood on electric bass, and Victor Paul Nash on trumpet, When You Dream is geared for the stage with songs made to incite audience reaction.

The lacy pirouettes traced by Holman's keyboards along "Into The Blue" are partnered with free spirited strings as she sulks in a sorrowful mood, "If only I could've been yours / Been your rapport - yours to adore / If only I would've said yes -- forgiven the rest / Oh I could've said yes." The pouting strings swirl and soar and then switch to a showtunes vibe in "Cellophane" as Holman's vocals turn to a burlesque strut.

The lilting wisps circulating through "California Gold Rush" have a cabaret flare which take on an operetta tone in "Maybe Something's Wrong" padded in howling trumpet twirls and merry-go-round spins. The jubilant pulse straddling "My Thorny Romance" is supported by clanging cymbals and jangly tambourine chimes, which contrast the sleek versing of "To Anna", showing a likeness to Sarah Blasko. Holman dips into a vaudeville-style groove in "Red Ink" and "Let Me In" demonstrating a penchant for melodies that resonate like a performance piece.

Sara Jackson-Holman's songs are made to be performed on stage. She keeps the music active both physically and emotionally. Whether she is crafting modelesque showtunes or operetta creations, they all stem from her natural inclination to act out her songs and give them meaning beyond her words.

-Susan Frances

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