Sarah Mendelsohn’s new album, “IF”, is not your grandmother’s Mendelssohn! This album is a collection of Sarah’s original songs, at once beautifully melodic with catchy hooks, rich harmonies and heartfelt lyrics. They are songs of love, loss, vulnerability, motherhood, hope and determination.
Anyone who knows Sarah Mendelsohn knows she’s a total pro. She has been a drummer and harmony singer for many years around Boston –most recently with the Duppy Conquerors, a superb Bob Marley tribute act. But she steps out front on her long-awaited debut solo album, “IF.” She sings with a raw, survivor’s emotion on tracks that include stately ballads and sturdy country, rock and island-flavored tunes, while adding rapper MC Kabir for extra panache on the inspiring “My Armour Opened.” Mendelsohn gets knocked down in the opening “Drowning,” but is back with renewed optimism in “I Will Rise,” with the irrepressible lyric: “I may stumble and I may cry … and if I get knocked down, I will rise.” Simple sentiments, but sung with grace and strength. There’s much on this album to suggest a welcome, not-to-be-denied debut.
— STEVE MORSE, former staff music critic at the Boston Globe for 28 years who now teaches a Rock History course for Berklee College of Music
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