In Tune with Sara Willis Pick of the Week

Welcome to the In Tune Pick of the Week.

Each week Sara highlights a band, a song, or an artist that she has recently discovered and adores or an older piece of music that she has fallen in love with all over again. Peruse her Picks of the Week below, give them a listen, and share them with your own group of friends. Enjoy!

Return to the In Tune homepage

Parsonsfield Happy Hour On The Floor
parsonsfieldmusic.bandcamp.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 03.27.20
Happy Hour On The Floor

"I thought this band was from Maine, but no, its name is from the town where Sam Kassirer first recorded them at his studio, Great Northern Sound Society. It's ok, I still love them. This record is a new direction, a sonic rebirth, and it's an exhilarating, adventurous record. Happy On the Floor is more indie pop than old-school string band and it pushes the group far beyond anything previously recorded. They are pared down to four musicians, and they are tight, but also elastic. Play this record on a Friday night and the party begins." — Sara

More information on Happy Hour On The Floor

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 03.20.20
Blindsided

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 03.13.20
Dixie Blur

nathanielrateliff.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 03.06.20
And It's Still Alright

"Many of you know Nathaniel Rateliff from his work with his band The Nightsweats. This solo album was born on the heels of the death of his friend and producer, Richard Swift, and a divorce. Yes, there is sadness and loss here, but there is also joy. Maybe his message is that we all go through hard times, and we all feel despair, but there is a kernel of light that keeps shining and keeps us going. His voice reminds me so much of Harry Nilsson at times. So much emotion there, but smooth and gliding through the verses. Also, a great band. The title track is so compelling, I have to be careful not to play it too often. But you can." — Sara

More information on And It's Still Alright

bullmoose.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 02.28.20
The Family Songbook

"The Haden Triplets — Petra, Rachel, and Tanya — have major credentials and ancestry to brag about. However, The Family Songbook transcends ancestry and nostalgia. Yes, there are traditional songs, sung with true depth and understanding, but there are also some that might seem out of left field; Kanye West's "Say You Will" for one. And their stark, flamenco-tinged treatment makes an impression on American standards like "Wayfaring Stranger," "I'll Fly Away," "Wildwood Flower," and "Pretty Baby." And not only do you get these hugely talented sisters, but a killer band including Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Don Was, Larry Taylor, Woody Jackson, and MY favorite drummer of all time, Jay Bellerose. This is a collection of songs that will take you somewhere good." — Sara

More information on The Family Songbook

thewoodbros.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 02.21.20
Kingdom In My Mind

"The Wood Brothers didn't know they were making a record. Looking back, they're grateful for that. 'If we had known, we probably would have been too self-conscious to play what we played,' reflects bassist/vocalist Chris Wood. 'At the time, we just thought we were jamming to break in our new studio, so we felt free to explore all these different ways of performing together without worrying about the form or structure. It was liberating.' Recorded live to tape, those freewheeling, improvised sessions became the material from which the Wood Brothers would go on to draw Kingdom In My Mind, their eighth studio release and the most spontaneous and experimental collection yet. I'm quoting from their promo material here because it best describes why the record sounds so alive. It's still the fabulous Wood Brothers sound, a meld of gospel, blues, jazz and R&B, but with an added freedom and joy that I haven't heard on their other recordings, or at least, not so profoundly. These guys are so good, smart and funny. Well worth your time." — Sara

More information on Kingdom In My Mind

Jennah Barry's album cover art for Holiday
jennahberry.bandcamp.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 02.14.20
Holiday

"Sometimes I put a CD in the player, an artist I don't know, and I fall in love within a few moments. This happened with Jennah Barry. She's from Nova Scotia and her new CD "Holiday" is an escape to a beautiful and intimate place that is familiar, but also timeless and unique. Her voice is so lovely, it's a delight. And the songs, dreamy and lush, could have come from Joni Mitchell's Laurel Canyon as well as the one Jenny Lewis inhabits now." — Sara

More information on Holiday

John Moreland's LP5 album cover
johnmoreland.bandcamp.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 02.07.20
LP5

"John Moreland is one of those songwriters like John Prine or Townes Van Zandt who can create an atmosphere with words, tell a story that sticks with you, and gets in under your skin. His previous albums have been more stripped down, but this one has a band and was produced by Matt Pence, and it is produced beautifully. Not too much, not too little. The songs, his voice and the music add up to an album that I know I will reach for over and over." — Sara

The album cover art for Bonny Light Horseman's self-titled Bonny Light Horseman
pitchfork.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 01.31.20
Bonny Light Horseman

"Sometimes there is a perfect union of material and artists, the head and the heart, old and new. This is Bonny Light Horseman. A perfect union. Anaïs Mitchell (Hadestown), Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats), and Josh Kaufman (The National, Bob Weir) came together with their collective gifts and took traditional songs to a level that is, well, joyful. The beauty of this record makes me happy deep inside. It’s a magical mixture of old and new that feels electric, thrilling and haunting. Check it out. You won’t be sorry. Here’s what the record label says, 'Bonny Light horseman is an elusive kind of sonic event: a bottled blend of lightning and synergy that will excite fans of multiple genres, eras, and ages.' Agreed." — Sara

More information on Bonny Light Horseman

Joe Henry – The Gospel According to Water album cover
americanahighways.org

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 01.17.20
The Gospel According to Water

"Joe Henry is one of those artists who other artists (Rosanne Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, Ben Harper, John Prine...I could go on) admire and take inspiration from. I was honestly surprised when I saw one of the songs on this record was on Barack Obama's best of 2019 list. Mostly because I had the idea that Joe flew under the radar a little. But real music people, the sort that count music as a very important part of their lives, know Joe Henry. He's been making amazing records his whole life. And this new one is no exception. He had some health issues in the last year, and this music came from that time. It's music with depth and resonance. It's a full meal, and you won't be hungry later. Unless it's for more Joe Henry." — Sara

More information on The Gospel According to Water

Tanya Tucker – While I'm Livin' album cover
fantasyrecordings.com

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 01.10.20
While I'm Livin'

"Tanya Tucker's new album, "While I'm Livin'", came out in August, but I didn't listen to it until this week. Somehow it was in a pile in the studio that I hadn't looked at. Wow, I'm so glad I found it. If you don't know who Tanya is, watch Ken Burns' latest documentary Country Music. She was a very important and colorful artist and her story is most definitely not over! This music is so real, it's startling. She worked closely with Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings as producers. They collaborated and wrote songs together, recording live in the studio. Just real. This record should do for her what Rick Rubin's work with Johnny Cash did for him...bring these great artists back to us. Check this record out, I'm not kidding." — Sara

More information on While I'm Livin'

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 01.03.20
Under the Same Stars

"I almost always have a song playing in my head. It's kind of amazing how often I wake up with "These Cold Nights," a song from the Oshima Brothers' Under the Same Stars in the jukebox of my mind. Well, it's not really that amazing considering what a great song it is. I'm happy to have it on repeat. There are five songs on the EP and they are all candidates for my mind jukebox. They are beautiful, those brother harmonies can't be beat. And they are uplifting and, let's face it, we need uplifting these days. AND, they are from Maine! Born and bred. We can be proud of the music these very gifted artists are making and I hope to get a chance to see them live. Stay tuned!" — Sara

More information on Under the Same Stars

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 12.27.19
Spread the Feeling

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 12.20.19
Closer Than Together

Sara's In Tune Pick of the Week

Week of 12.13.19
Beautiful Country

"Bombadil's new album, Beautiful Country, is a great addition to that genre of bands that include Darlingside, The Head and the Heart, The Avett Brothers, and River Whyless. See where I’m going here? Beautiful melodies, killer harmonies and songs that have substance. More poetry than just verse/chorus/verse. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them on Live From Here. Check it out, your kind and gentle side will be glad." — Sara

Pages