Sara Bareilles and Tori Amos could each do themselves a favor by listening to “Blue to Gold,” the new album from Hudson Valley singer-songwriter Sarah Perrotta.
Yeah, “Blue to Gold” is that good.
This album shines and sparkles in a very special, effortless way. Everything makes sense. Everything fits—the holy and the haunting, the sweet and the sacred, the push and the pull.
With producer Jerry Marotta, who has performed with everyone from Peter Gabriel to Paul McCartney, Perrotta has crafted a major musical milestone with storylines weaving in and out of each other—and texture, lots and lots of texture. Perrotta with “Blue to Gold” has not only released a great collection of songs—she has found her Holy Grail and is very graciously sharing it with us all.
Perrotta, with her songwriting and voice, joins with Marotta and his magic wand as producer, to generate an all-consuming sonic and cinematic landscape. “Blue to Gold” does not let up. This record takes no prisoners. So just throw open your arms and surrender to its warm embrace, its celestial cry, it’s sunrise-meets-sunset-meets-shooting-star-meets-lunar-eclipse crush of the senses.
Joining in on all of the fun is a lineup of musicians who push the vaulted heights of this album even further: Tony Levin of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame; Sara Lee from the Gang of Four, B52s and The League of Gentlemen; Marc Shulman, who has performed with Suzanne Vega; Gerry Leonard, who for years has performed with Suzanne Vega and who was a member of David Bowie’s band; and Rupert Greenall from The Fixx. In addition to producing, Marotta plays drums on “Blue to Gold,” which was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios in Hurley, New York.
You can see for yourself how Perrotta and Marotta have crafted a musical masterpiece on Sunday, Nov. 28, when Perrotta will showcase her work with an album release show at the Colony Woodstock in Woodstock, New York. Click here for ticket information. Sarah, who also plays piano and keyboards, will be joined by Manuel Quintana on drums; Jesse Towey on bass; Johnnie Wang on guitar; and Megan Gugliotta on violin.
You can get the whole lowdown on Sarah Perrotta by clicking here. But first, please read on, to learn more about this Hudson Valley singer-songwriter and her compelling new record that will stand the test of time as Sarah expands her fanbase and soars. Thank you Sarah for taking the time to answer these questions!
What inspired this record?
When things aren’t so smooth, expressing myself through music lifts me up and connects me to my better self. “Blue to Gold” is the process of transforming struggle into something of value and beauty. The songs are each like a prayer or meditation for me, based on relationships and life experience.
How did Jerry Marotta shape the sound of this album?
At one point he said to me, “This is like a painting. We’re going to start with one layer of broad strokes and then add another and another.“ Being one of the world’s best drummers, he shaped the recording like he orchestrates drum parts. We started with the sparsest piano parts, then added a mellotron or organ part, percussion, drums and so on; all simple hooky parts interacting with each other.
What’s it like to work with Jerry?
Initially, I was intimidated by him. His presence is commanding and his discography is mind blowing. He’s been a huge part of the sound for so many influential artists.
Past the exterior of his impressive track record is this amazingly generous, sensitive and creative man. He would sit with me at the Steinway piano at Dreamland, a quiet church, and just listen—really listen. He guided me to simplify, to get to the root of the emotion of each song. The work was transformative and exciting. When Jerry’s excited about an idea, he exudes this childlike enthusiasm that is totally infectious. The process was fun, expansive and fulfilling. Neither one of us wanted it to end.
Did the Hudson Valley—the mountains, the Hudson River, the creeks, the hiking paths, the people, the communities—offer any inspiration for this record?
Yes, of course—how could it not? I often go for short hikes before recording to get myself grounded and inspired. Sitting by a stream in the sunshine for awhile quiets my mind and helps me to be a better singer and overall musician.
When did you first start playing an instrument?
As soon as I could reach the piano keys, I was playing. My grandfather taught me my first piano lessons when I was about four. I started formal piano lessons when I was seven but would have started earlier if the teacher allowed me to.
When did you first start singing?
It’s hard to say. I don’t remember ever not singing.
What do you enjoy about singing?
Singing is a release. It’s a vehicle to bring true emotions out into the world. The cool thing about singing is you can really do it anywhere. As a singer, I am my instrument.
What adjectives and emotions would you use to describe the sound of “Blue to Gold?”
Lush. Complex. Emotive. Unique.
Can you describe your songwriting process? How do you take inspiration or a single idea and turn that into a song?
My process often starts with a bass groove or chord progression on the piano, followed by a vocal melody and some sketches of words. The work for me is taking the raw feeling and merging it with my analytical mind. My feelings come quickly, but my mind takes longer to decide on the lyrics and arrangement. It sometimes happens all at once, but it often takes longer, sometimes months or even years until I feel that a song is complete. I love the process so much. I feel that the songs are alive when I’m working on them. Something dies when the song is “finished,” but it comes to life again when I play live, and have the opportunity to reinterpret the song in the current moment.
Is there anything unique about a Hudson Valley live music audience?
I grew up in the Hudson Valley so the unique thing for me is the audience here is mostly my friends, family and people who I’ve known for many years.