by Katy Browse, Maverick Magazine
THE BLACKSMITH’S GIRL
The debut solo album of a singer/songwriter who has traveled long and far in order to make this intimate self-penned album. You’ll remember it for a while.
It might be a bit bold of me to direct you somewhere else but if you’re interested in Sandie Jemmett, I would highly recommend that you type her name into youtube.com. You will find this little featurette, about twelve minutes long, recorded from a bunker underneath Metropolis studios in 2009. Three of the songs from the album are here, in live form. It’s an environment that really does suit her; the bunker’s acoustics show off every foray of her voice, very strong, very dynamic, and bring out the unusual chord arrangements in her songs. They are, for the most part, fairly calm, but by no means lacking nuance.
Thank goodness that Wildflower records have managed to transfer the same quality to THE BLACKSMITH’S GIRL, Sadie’s debut album. Up until about Another Way to Be, the third track, it is sedate but still draws you in, the intimacy working with lyrics like ‘And oh my little darling… I can see my mirrored walls are falling/And I know that you see deep inside of me’.
The great thing about Jemmett though is that she doesn’t rely on that intimacy. What surprises you on this Metropolis featurette is how much character she has when she performs. In interview, she’s quite small, quite British, but then in tracks like the titular Blacksmith’s Girl her acoustic voice conjures up this dramatic heroine, slinging a pistol over her shoulder. It’s then that you realise her accent, an inevitable off-shoot of her Cambridgeshire upbringing, hides an unusual life-story. Trailing from home to home as a child, picking up a guitar, Jemmett claims, was the first thing that really made sense. And the way in which she’s clung to it in times of crisis comes out in her music: ‘I feel like I’m falling down/So I begin by breathing out/So I begin by breathing in.’ Equally you see the character that got her through it and out on the road in all kind of fun and bizarre situations (she was a backing singer in a reggae band at one point).
This album’s been a long time coming, it’s been brewing for many years. I think the best thing that can be said of it, perhaps of any such album from a singer/songwriter that you feel like you’ve met her. And she really was quite something.