Published Nov 19, 2019Despite its conventional title and concept, Sarah Jane Scouten's latest album, Confessions, is a surprisingly fresh approach to the confessional country album. Scouten's songs offer honest, poignant and at times humorous lyrics that reveal the artist's personal insight and knack for storytelling.
Confessions' greatest strength is Scouten's lyrics; its second is her versatility. She pays tribute to a variety of musical influences on this album. While she maintains a vintage Nashville feel throughout, Scouten runs the gamut, from the minimalist tongue-in-cheek "Pneumonia," to the pop love song "You Still Love Him, Kid," to the sultry blues exploration "Ballad of a Southern Midwife." Some tracks are more memorable than others, but there's enough here to keep listeners returning to the album again and again.
"You Are the Medicine" is the album's stand-out track. Scouten's catchy melody and relatable lyrics are elevated by the song's tastefully sentimental production. Veteran producer Andre Wahl lends a deft hand to the album's composition, balancing Scouten's gentle vocal style with the album's various vintage-inspired musical stylings; there are times, however, when Scouten gets lost in the cacophony of organ squeals and guitar riffs.
Like the bittersweet memories it reflects on, Confessions possesses an almost irresistible draw. It offers listeners twists and turns, ups and downs, and most importantly, the satisfaction of a well-told story. (Light Organ)