On Stage: Multi-faceted Rachael Sage brings her talents to The Flash

Pin It

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Rachael Sage

A pentagon has five sides and a hexagon has six sides. A heptagon has seven sides. An octagon has eight sides, and a nonagon has nine sides.

How many sides does Rachael Sage have?

The answer is – who knows?

Sage, a talented singer/songwriter/instrumentalist released her most recent album “The Other Side” last year. On May 17, she will release her new album “Another Side.”

Area music fans will be able to hear songs from both albums – and a lot more – when Sage headlines a show on May 2 at Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org).

This will mark Sage’s first appearance in Chester County after performing in surrounding areas multiple times last year — City Winery in Philly, Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse in Lancaster and Jamey’s in Lansdowne. She also has done shows in Wilmington.

Now, she is performing a show in Kennett Square.

The show at the Flash is billed as “Danielle Howle & Rachael Sage: Musical Mantras.”

“I just got back from London. I was on tour in England for five weeks,” said Sage, during a phone interview last evening from Manhattan where she was making a video for her next single, “Albatross.”

“At this show, it’s myself and my violin player Kelly Halloran – the same as in the U.K. She’s a multi-talented musician who has played with me for a long time. She is so much more than a violinist. She plays with an extra string so it’s like a viola. I’m sharing the bill with Danielle Howle, who is a good friend of mine.”

“Another Side” is Sage’s acclaimed 2023 album, “The Other Side,” completely reimagined. With entirely new, acoustic (but not necessarily stripped-down) instrumentation and Sage’s intimate melodies front and center, fans of Sage’s rootsy folk-pop will enjoy these living room-style versions of some of her most timely, soul-stirring material to date.

Special guests include breakthrough folk artist Crys Matthews, along with Trina Hamlin (harmonica), percussionist Quinn (Tracy Chapman), Americana vocal duo Annalyse & Ryan, and Nashville singer-songwriters Amy Speace and Grace Pettis.

“The album will be released May 17 on my label MPress Records,” said Sage, who is like a modern-day Renaissance woman — singer-songwriter, ballerina, pianist, poet, record label owner, actress, organist, writer and record producer. Currently, she is focused on being a performer.

“We have a few lead tracks. The first single was ‘The Deepest Dark’ and the second one was ‘The Place of Fun.’ The third is ‘Albatross,’ which comes out this Friday. I’ve been in New York all day making the video for ‘Albatross.’

“I recorded most of it in a home studio in Beacon, New York called The Creek because it overlooks Fishkill Creek,” said Sage. “I also did some of it at The Carriage House in Stamford, Connecticut.

“Making the new album was a great opportunity to revisit the songs from ‘The Other Side.’ I wanted to get back to the essence of the songs – stripped down – more of a living room feeling.

“The last album was recorded during COVID. It was just such a joy being back in the world after COVID – to play shows and have intimacy with my audiences.

“I had a whole different perspective on these songs after performing them live. I like to re-do things. If I were an architect, I’d probably re-do my house every year.”

For “Another Side,” Sage did more than just sit in the studio and remix the songs.

“It’s the entire album completely revamped – all from scratch,” said Sage. “I took away the rock and pop elements and figured out how I would play these songs acoustic.”

Sage has released 16 studio albums – starting with “Morbid Romantic” in 1996. She released her sixth album, “Ballads & Burlesque” in 2006 and then has faithfully released a new album every two years (on even years) since then – until COVID hit. Her two most recent LPs are Myopia” in 2018 and “Character” in 2020.

“I also released ‘Poetica’ during the lockdown,” said Sage. “‘Poetica’ is a collaborative album I made with Dave Eggar.”

Cinematic and stylistically expansive, “Poetica” is a creatively ambitious musical spoken word project distilling a poetic spirit through text, voice and music in the spirit of Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson. What began as a remote duo collaboration between poet/vocalist/producer Sage and three-time Grammy nominated cellist Dave Eggar eventually evolved into a full-blown spoken word concept album, with musicians contributing from around the globe.

Produced and engineered by Sage herself, “Poetica” aims to create connection and shared experience via the unifying power of words. Adventurous yet familiar in its intimacy, Sage’s voice is perfectly at home in the absence of typical song structure, while her musical arrangements fuse elements of jazz, classical and Appalachian folk with surprising agility.

“Dave Eggar and I took my poetry, and we collaborated on the music,” said Sage.

“The Other Side” returned Sage to the singer/songwriter world.

Sage has developed a loyal international following for her dynamic piano playing, delicate guitar work, and improvisational audience interaction. A six-time Independent Music Award winner, Sage has toured with an eclectic list of artists including Howard Jones, Beth Hart, Ani DiFranco, and Grammy® winners Shawn Colvin and Judy Collins – with whom she also recorded a critically-acclaimed duet of Neil Young’s “Helpless.”

Since founding her own label MPress Records two decades ago, Sage has steadily released a slew of vibrant, dynamic albums with poetic lyrics spanning subjects as wide as her inspirations.

Some of Sage’s tour dates a while back were cancelled because she was diagnosed with cancer.

“I’ve been in remission for six years,” said Sage. “I had endometrial cancer. I eat healthy and exercise and I stay in remission. I think that doing what you love is the best medicine.”

In early 2020, Sage released an intimate video for “Bravery’s On Fire,” which was the first single off “Character.” Directed by longtime collaborator and award-winning filmmaker Tom Moore, the video is an emotional, cinema verité window into her own recovery from cancer. 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the single were targeted to benefit women’s cancer research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the two institutions where Sage received her treatment.

Now on the other side of treatment and in complete remission, Sage hopes to raise awareness of this disease, which is the most common type of women’s cancer with more than 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States alone and 530,000 women worldwide.

A self-described “cancer thriver,” she is additionally a philanthropic advocate who has raised money for a wide range of causes, including Foundation For Women’s Cancer, WHY Hunger, American Refugee Committee, and National Network For Youth (NN4Y).

Working to benefit women’s cancer, hunger and refugees – that’s just another side of the multidimensional artist.

Video link for Rachael Sage – https://youtu.be/Q554hY_oXAs.

The show at Kennett Flash on May 2 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Other upcoming shows at Kennett Flash are Lisa Sanders on May 3, a free show by Vento, Ziggy, Hawk & McCarthy on May 4, and Minor Gold on May 5.

A self-described “cancer thriver,” she is additionally a philanthropic advocate who has raised money for a wide range of causes, including Foundation For Women’s Cancer, WHY Hunger, American Refugee Committee, and National Network For Youth (NN4Y).

Sean Chambers

Sean Chambers, who will be performing at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on May 6, has had blues and blues-influenced rock pulsing through his veins since he was a young musician.

“I wanted to play an instrument, so I chose guitar,” said Chambers, during a phone interview Tuesday from a tour stop in Syracuse, New York.

“My parents got me a guitar when I was 11. They wanted me to take lessons from a local teacher. That didn’t work because he wanted to play ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and I wanted to rock out.

“When I was 15, a friend picked me up a cassette – Jimi Hendrix’ ‘Red House.’ My hair stood on end. I listened to tape to learn how to play music. When I heard Hendrix, I said – that’s what I want to do.

“Then, a buddy played me Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Voodoo Chile.’ That got me into musicians like Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray. Then, I got into their influences. I don’t know what it is about Texas – Billy Gibbons, Freddie King, Albert King – a lot of guys I really liked were from Texas.”

During his junior and senior high school years, Chambers had split loyalties.

“I played football in high school at Plant High School in Tampa,” said Chambers. “Then, I arrived at the crossroads of music and sports – and chose music. I started my first band after high school when I was 19 – Code Blue. I finally did my first album in 1998.”

In. 1998, Chambers released his debut album, “Strong Temptation,” which was heavily influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s style of playing.

Chambers continued to progress stylistically and musically with his next release, 2004’s “Humble Spirits.”  The critically acclaimed “Ten Til Midnight” followed in October 2009, to positive reviews and stayed on the Living Blues chart for three months.

A live album, “Live from the Long Island Blues Warehouse,” was released in 2011 and incorporated some material from “Strong Temptation” and “Humble Spirits,” and was a collection of mainly fast tempo blues rock.

In 2013, Chambers recorded at Kevin McKendree’s Rock House Studios, and, in October that year, he released “The Rock House Sessions.” It was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award as Best Blues Rock Album of the Year.

On March 17, 2017, Chambers issued his sixth album, “Trouble & Whiskey,” which went to No. 11 in the Billboard Blues Albums Chart.

“Welcome to My Blues” was released in 2018 and reached No. 9 in the Billboard Blues Albums Chart in November 2018.

His latest album, “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About,” was released in 2021 on Quarto Valley Records, and is a tribute to his friend and mentor Hubert Sumlin.

The album consists of nine tracks that were frequently performed when Chambers was backing and serving as Sumlin’s band leader in the late 1990s, along with one original song written by Chambers.

“That’s What I’m Talkin’ About” reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Blues Charts and received great accolades and rave reviews around the globe.

Chambers actually began his career in the blues back in 1998 when he toured with the legendary Hubert Sumlin as his guitarist and band leader until 2003. During Sean’s tenure with Mr. Sumlin, Britain’s own Guitarist magazine named Chambers as “One of the top 50 blues guitarists of the last century.”

“Back in 1998, my manager Steve Einzig called and said that Hubert Sumlin was playing at Blues Stock in Memphis and could put a band together to be his band for the show,” said Chambers.

“After that, Hubert wanted us to be his group. For a long time, he was always a sideman. I toured with him   all over the world for four years from 1998-2003.”

Sumlin was a Chicago blues guitarist and singer, best known for his “wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions” as a member of Howlin’ Wolf’s band. Sumlin dies in December 2011.

“I’m touring now with Savoy Brown’s rhythm section – bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm,” said Chambers. “We’re a three-piece. My whole career has pretty much been as a three-piece. It takes a certain kind to pull off a trio. These guys are really great.”

Both Grimm and DeSalvo were part of the longest continuously running lineup in Savoy Brown’s history up until the tragic passing of Savoy Brown co-founder/guitarist Kim Simmonds in 2022.  The band will perform several Savoy Brown classics along with Sean’s original music.

Video link for Sean Chambers — https://youtu.be/QLtulu5POgI.

The show in Sellersville on May 5 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $21.50 and $29.50.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Vanilla Fudge on May 2, Margaret Glaspy on May 3, Darlingside on May 4, Holly Near on May 5 and the Furious Bongos on May 8.

With midsummer-like weather, a stage for live music and a great vista overlooking the Delaware, Fringe Bar (140 Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, fringebarphilly.com) can be a great place to visit on May 2 – especially because there will be a free concert there.

On Thursday night from 8-11:30, Fringe Bar will host a free show featuring Brian K and the Parkway, Tinmouth, and Laurel.

Brian K. Pagels and Stephen Russ, the DC-area duo, Brian K & The Parkway, released their debut album, “Killing The Bear,” March 29, 2024. The nine-song collection, a nod to the ’70s rock sound of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Warren Zevon, is guitar-based, roots-oriented rock, infused with a healthy dose of soul and R&B.

The duo dubs their sound “coastal heartland rock,” reflecting the fact that their major influences are artists that hail from coastal areas such as New Jersey, Florida, and California, but are known for their own mix of classic heartland rock.

“I ended up in D.C. 10 years ago for job reasons,” said Russ, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in Arlington, Virginia.

Pagels and Russ formed Brian K & The Parkway in 2021. Pagels is from Springsteen’s hometown of Freehold, N.J. and Russ is from the Carolinas. Both share an innate connection to The Boss and are acutely inspired by him. Although the guys refer to the band name fondly as “very Jersey,” it denotes Pagels’s name and the fact that The George Washington Memorial Parkway connects the route between their Northern Virginia homes. Pagels lives in Alexandria and Russ lives in Arlington.

“Brian and I met because I went out for one of his other bands,” said Russ. “We also had shows together when we were in different bands and were hanging out together.

“We decided to record an album right before COVID hit. Two years later, we were finally able to finish the album.

“Brian is the main writer – chorus, melody, guts of the song – and then brings them to me. I play drums so I suggest dynamic ideas.

“I’m also a producer – taking what is good and sculpting it into a finished piece. We’re a team. Brian plays guitar and a little piano and sings. I play drums.

“On the record, we used people from D.C. and Atlanta. It was easy to do things remote. We used Cat Popper and sax player Sam Skelton. It was an easy process to put the band together. For these upcoming shows, we’re a five-piece – two guitars, keyboards, bass and drums.”

The album was mostly made by Pagels and Russ. It was mastered by Justin Perkins (North Mississippi Allstars, The Replacements, Lydia Loveless), co-engineered by Zac Thomas at The Jam Room in Columbia, S.C., and co-produced and mixed by Collin Derrick.

“We recorded drums and some guitar at The Jam Room,” said Russ. “They record to analog tape, and we wanted that sound.

“Long before that, Brian was writing the songs – prior to COVID. Brian wrote some songs and then we didn’t listen to them for a year. As a result, we had a chance to make some improvements.”

The overarching theme of “Killing The Bear” is about our ever-increasing inability as humans to deal with the source of our problems and instead, look to surface-level, near-term solutions, and then declare immediate victory. The songs serve as vignettes about the things we do to cope, for better or worse.

“It is a concept album with all separate stories,” said Russ. “The basic tenet is that people try to find a quick solution instead of digging deeper.”

Video link for Brian K & The Parkway – https://youtu.be/k8hOfToy7Wg.

The show at Fringe Bar will start at 8 p.m.

Admission is free.

“And Now for Something Completely Different” was the name of a 1971 British sketch comedy film based on the television comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The phrase could also be used as a description of a new theatrical show in Philadelphia – “The Worst Cafe in the World,” which is running now through May 5 at Poth Brewery (3145 West Jefferson Street, Philadelphia, tinydynamite.org).

Tiny Dynamite and Big Telly cordially invite guests to the opening of their café. There are no meals, per se, but there is a menu of theatrical bites to serve as a bouche.

“The Worst Cafe in the World” is presenting its North American premiere with two engagements — one at Off-Broadway’s Origin 1st Irish Festival in New York City and the other at the Philadelphia venue.

At The Worst Cafe In The World, guests will be seated and provided with a menu from which they’ll “order” a series of theatrical moments from performer/servers (Anna Lieberman, Gabe Moses, and David Pica) — small bites, entrees for a table, or sharing platters for the whole cafe.

From there, diners might enjoy a monologue, a digital experience, a full-audience improvisation, or something else entirely unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable.  The gastro-theatrical delights may be salty, sweet, or completely unexpected, and diners get to choose all of their dramatic courses. Picture a dish arriving covered in a cloche, only to discover a mini-puppet theater on the plate.

Reservations for a table at The Worst Cafe first started in Belfast, Northern Ireland as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in October 2019. It was such a success that the owners decided to pop up in top secret locations in towns throughout Northern Ireland in March 2021, including masquerading as a seafront café in Portstewart, followed by a covert operation in Armagh.

This special collaboration between Tiny Dynamite and Big Telly will be dished up by lead theatrical chefs (i.e., developed by) Kathryn “KC” MacMillan, Artistic Director of Tiny Dynamite, and Zoe Seaton, Artistic Director of Big Telly.

For the last 14 years, Tiny Dynamite has produced welcoming, empathetic, and community-based stories. All programs take place under the banner of “A Play, a Pie, and a Pint,” a unique theatrical experience where each moderately priced ticket includes a performance, food, and beverage, often with seating at communal tables.

Big Telly brings world class theatre to small communities in Northern Ireland. It is a conduit between rural communities and urban platforms, providing a space for exchange, brokering wider conversations about the local, the global and our place in society. All of its work is interactive, co-created and bespoke, addressing issues of sustainability, accessibility, and diversifying views on cultural identity.

“I met Zoe and we hit it off right away,” said “KC” MacMillan. “We like to provide theater with a difference. Both Big Telly and Tiny Dynamite have a whimsical aspect.

“Zoe told me about Worst Café – a very creative, interactive experience with the audience. She asked me if Tiny Dynamite would like to do it.

“With a tagline ‘brilliantly casual,’ we cultivate environments that are welcoming and casual – serving up drinks, wild creativity and brilliant performers in non-theatrical spaces.

“She described it as theater in a restaurant. We draw ‘diners’ into the experience. We invite them to come have a drink and then draw them in.

“Poth Brewery has been used for theater a few times. For this, we needed it to look like a rundown restaurant.”

The meal is divided into three phases – appetizers, small plates and main course shared plates.

“The appetizers are a series of little gags – little special effects that you can order at the table,” said McMillan. “The small plates are really special – speeches, monologues delivered directly to your table. It could be Shakespeare, Greek theater, Ibsen.

“The main menu is served family style. There are scenes from a historical play that happen all across the room, more Shakespeare, solos from musicals, great scenes from theater. The menu is a bit different every night.”

And, of course, even the worst cafe in the world wouldn’t send guests away hungry. Every ticket holder receives a complimentary beverage and snack.

The show at Poth Brewery is running now through May 5 with seatings at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

This prix fixe experience is $25 per guest.

On May 4, SRUTI (www.sruti.org) will present a Carnatic Violin Concert by the Lalgudi siblings — Lalgudi G. J. R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi at the West Chester East High School Auditorium (450 Ellis Lane, West Chester, www.sruti.org).

SRUTI, The India Music and Dance Society is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization. Every year, around 10 or more world class music and dance recitals are presented during the Spring and Fall seasons by SRUTI in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Lalgudi Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi belong to the fifth generation in the sishya parampara of the saint composer Sadhguru Tyagaraja. They were groomed in music under their gurus – their grandfather Sri Lalgudi Gopala Iyer and father legendary violinist-composer Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. The duo has imbibed the essence of the Lalgudi bani and enhanced it significantly by their own virtuosity and creativity.

Lalgudi Krishnan’s music is noted for its sensitive tonality, spontaneity, tasteful exploration of vivadi ragas, innovative kalpana svaras replete with melody, intricate rhythmic patterning and innovative korvais, which have been acclaimed by veteran masters and contemporary musicians.

Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi’s music is replete with raga bhava and saukhyam. Vijayalakshmi’s raga essays instantly capture the essence and soul of the raga, with a freshness of perspective in every exposition.

Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi are best known for their scintillating violin duet concerts. Their duets are marked by pristine classicism and musical dignity, exquisite melody and intricate rhythm, deep intellect, refreshing creativity, instrumental virtuosity, wide repertoire, interesting and stimulating pallavis, engaging impromptu raga and swara repartees.

Though they are both torch bearers of the Lalgudi bani, their styles are in fact distinct and contrasting in a way that complements each other and enhances the beauty and concert experience. They also perform solos, where audiences get to enjoy their respective individual styles. True to their bani, they use their commendable violin virtuosity to project artha bhava and raga bhava rather than to showcase instrumental skill for its own sake.

They will be accompanied by Shri. B. Guru Raghavendra on Mridangam and KV Gopalakrishnan on Kanjira.

The mridangam is a percussion instrument of ancient origin. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble.

The kanjira, a South Indian frame drum, is an instrument of the tambourine family. As a folk and bhajan instrument, it has been used in the Indian subcontinent for many centuries.

Video link for Lalgudi G. J. R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi — https://youtu.be/6B-QRAB7E7A.

The show at W.C. East High School on May 4 will start at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for seniors and $50 for premier seating.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) will host the Max Kaplan and the Magics and Slim and the Perkolators on May 2, the Kennedys on May 3, and the Deb Callahan Band on May 4

The shows at Jamey’s House of Music will start at 8 p.m.

For all three shows, tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

All three shows will also be available as a pay-per-view at $15 each

“Jazz at Jamey’s” will be presented every second and fourth Thursday, and “Anything Goes” every first, third and fifth Thursday.

Every Sunday, Jamey’s presents “SUNDAY BLUES BRUNCH & JAM” featuring the Philly Blues Kings. On the second Sunday each month, the featured act is the Girke-Davis Project which features club owner Jamey Reilly, Roger Girke, Glenn Bickel, Fred Berman and Colgan-Davis.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is presenting Best of the Eagles on May 2 and Better Than Bacon on May 3.

This week, the Elkton Music Hall (107 North Street, Elkton, Maryland, www.elktonmusichall.com) will host Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche on May 3 and Crystal Ship Tribute to The Doors on May 4.

Share this post:

Related Posts

Comments are closed.