In just under six months from the release of her fantastic sophomore project Where The Past Meets Today, two-time Grammy nominee Sarah Kelly releases a digital-only acoustic EP for the fans. Answering the call to provide a stripped down version of her popular ballad "About Midnight," Kelly assembled three exclusive songs for this EP, including a previously unreleased song titled "Still Afraid" and an acoustic version of the tender ballad "Fall Into You," from her latest record.
The beauty of an acoustic or entirely stripped down Sarah Kelly song is the raw intimacy and passion that this magnificent artist conveys during a live performance. While her studio recordings are wonderful in their own right as well, they don't quite grab that one-on-one feel her shows offer. You connect with Kelly in person in a way that few artists really can. Two years ago, Sarah sat for an acoustic session with Sony Connect Sets and released a few previously unreleased songs and offered raw renditions of older favorites "Take Me Away" and "Living Hallelujah." The Connect Set lacked polish and didn't seem to capture the gloriously intimate feel that her 2007 Acoustic EP does. From the new opening piano ballad "Still Afraid" that grips the listener with a near-haunting melody and vulnerable honesty, "Maybe I am not forgotten / Maybe it's all in the plan / Maybe these burdens are weighing me down / And I've lost my strength to stand," we're drawn in by Kelly's openness. The track is a beautiful addition, and it progresses perfectly into a strictly piano and string-driven version of "About Midnight." "Fall Into You" is given a similar treatment, perhaps faring even better than the track before it as the melody is aided by Kelly's softer vocal delivery and its less-is-more composition.
Perhaps brief at just three tracks, but a powerful selection of songs nonetheless, the Sarah Kelly Acoustic EP is a gem of a digital release. Beautifully executed, the EP is a delightful follow-up to last fall's studio recording.- Review date: 2/15/07 written by John DiBiase
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