[OffBeat] Power Players: Sabine McCalla Speaks From The Heart

Sabine McCalla can handle her own. After years of providing backup vocals to bands around town, she’s finally ready to push her own voice to the front of the stage.

Making the move to New Orleans four years ago, McCalla found herself welcomed into a flourishing scene of supportive, fearless artists, gravitating around this young community that nourishes itself with country-folk and street culture, agreeable musicians, dancers, visual artists of all colors and shapes. It’s a scene where old-time music and lifestyle find a new breath, are brought back and celebrated each day with a fresh perspective and a hunger for the fleshed-out beauty of grassroots Southern music.

Last January, McCalla compiled a selection of songs crafted over the last four years in New Orleans and found help from the independent Mashed Potato Records to make a first recording, Folk, a dark and intimate testimony to her fascination for old songs and classic gospel, all fittingly recorded on grainy-sounding tape. McCalla speaks from the heart. Her songs tell the stories of lost souls and broken hearts with moanful laments. They summon the strength and comfort of old spirituals. Her stripped-down style, either singing a capella or with minimal guitar or vocal accompaniment, bears a force that evokes the most haunting of the early Lomax recordings of historic American music.



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