The day before her duets album “Bridges” was released Mary Sarah turned 19 years old. The performers singing on the album with her are some of country music’s biggest stars, all coming from a more “classic” era. Skipping “bro-country” and pretty much anything you hear on modern country radio, the generation gap is closed by one voice.
As I was first listening to the album I went track by track, not skipping or jumping, and with each song I found myself continually wanting to hear more and MORE of Mary Sarah’s voice. I was excited to hear the next song and then the next. While her voice has a youthful quality to it, it might not actually have anything to do with her age; she may sound just like she does now as she gets older (which is a good thing, if you haven’t figured that out yet).
“Jolene” with Dolly Parton. At times Mary Sarah sounds just like Dolly on this track and others. I won’t get into comparing these versions of the songs with the originals, that’s just a waste of time, but I will with this song. I like the original version but I always thought it sounded a tad hallow, but modern production fills in the spaces here. Also, with Mary Sarah’s voice it gives the song an extra “pop” that works really well.
“Heartaches by the Number” with Ray Price. This ended up being one of Ray’s last recordings before his death in December 2013. The song works well as a duet with their voices playing off each other. This is one of the tracks that let’s Mary Sarah’s “old school” tone shine, along with “Crazy” with Willie Nelson. I wonder what Willie thought of that record session?! What an interesting pairing.
“Texas (When I Die)” with Tanya Tucker. I love this song! They sound great together and of course it’s a fun song. Being from Texas, I know Mary Sarah was extra proud to be singing about how Texas is the closest thing she’s seen to heaven. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and Tanya just rocks. While Mary Sarah’s voice is smoother than Tanya’s, the differences in their deliveries work well together. I wish there were more voices like Tanya’s on country radio.
“Go Rest High on That Mountain” with Vince Gill is a change of pace, pulling back the composition and letting their voices just soar. This is a very beautiful song and I’m surprised they chose to include on this project. Songs like this can easily be messed up by making changes to it but it was worth the risk because it circles in the air and flies above you. Even just the instrumentation can bring a tear to your eye.
“I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee. Enter that ‘50s tune in Mary Sarah’s voice again! The key to this song is conveying vulnerability in your voice and she does it perfectly. She could tackle any of Brenda Lee’s songs and just nail it, again, because of the “old school” tone she has. I would love to hear her cover “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. But this is the perfect closer for the album because it acknowledges the past but keeps us in the present at the same time.
Also love “Rose Garden” with Lynn Anderson and “Where the Boys Are” with Neil Sedaka.
Mary Sarah’s truly has an amazing voice and what a special project for everyone involved. It doesn’t feel gimmicky or contrived; instead you can feel that every artist involved put their heart into it. I cannot wait to see what she does next because aside from her young age, the country mega-stars and well-known songs, the talent is there and her voice is guaranteed to guide her into much success.
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. She’s a social media queen and is very interactive with her fans.
Full “Bridges” tracklist:
1. Jolene with Dolly Parton
2. Heartaches By The Number with Ray Price
3. Crazy with Willie Nelson
4. The Fightin Side Of Me with Merle Haggard
5. Texas (When I Die) with Tanya Tucker
6. What A Difference You ve Made In My Life with Ronnie Milsap
7. Rose Garden with Lynn Anderson
8. Go Rest High On That Mountain with Vince Gill
9. Dream On with The Oak Ridge Boys
10. Where The Boys Are with Neal Sedaka
11. My Great Escape with Big & Rich
12. All I Want To Do Is Sing My Song with Freddy Powers
13. I’m Sorry