Some people you'd like to go to a concert with. Others you'd like to see in concert. A lucky few (not to sound to immodest) you'd like to jump on stage with and be part of the concert with. Sandi Thom fits (like the goofy striped knee-socks and high tops on her CD cover) the latter category.
Don't know a single thing about this power-pack talent. No matter. There's something (actually a whole bunch of things, I suspect) about her throaty vocals, energetic picking, and inspired lyrics that immediately connects listener to artist. Okay, that's too tame. There's something about Sandi that all but reaches out from the CD's grooves and hooks you by the collar and drags you (at first unwittingly but never unwillingly) into her no-holds-barred, donchya-dare-think-of -ignoring-me-honey world. If "When Horsepower Meant What It Said" doesn't get you to buck off, then hang on for "I Wish I was a Punk Rocker (with flowers in my hair)". These bandage-yanking kinda raw vocals and the wise restraint of the lone ching-chinging of percussion, not only force you to sit up and notice, it taunts you with a musical wager: "Bet you can't resist the emotions I'm brave enough to share you," Thom seems to be saying. "Castles" allows you, but just barely, to relax and drink in the unvarnished, unharnessed yet somehow "quiet" melody and vocals. This, as with all of the lyrics (all written or co-written by Thom), is creative, fun, insightful (minus any hint of "woe is me-ism").
Even the traditional country/MOR/pop-ish themes of "grazing knees, bumblebees and tree houses (as in the charming but un-saccharine "Time") are treated here by Thom with such dignity and freshness you'd swear you'd never heard them sung about before this track.
Judging by the CD cover, "Smile…it confuses people" could have been amended to "Dress like you've rummaged through Cindi Lauper's 80's closet and sound like a country-ish singer on copious quantities of Red Bull….it confuses people."
If Sandi Thom does indeed trigger confusion, color me confused with bold and bright hues of gratitude. Besides, how can you NOT like someone who not only knows someone called "poo face", but actually includes thanks ("special fluffy thanks", no less) to him/her in her liner notes.