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By |2006-03-23T09:00:00-05:00March 23rd, 2006|Entertainment|

ANN ARBOR – For her newest collection of ditties, “I’m a Mountain,” Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer leaves behind the programmed synthesizers and electric guitar and treads down-home territory Dolly-style.
For the bluegrass/folk collection – Harmer’s third solo release – she meanders through lush landscapes of love (“Escarpment Blues”), death (“Goin’ Out”) and nature, all with a li’l country twang.
“Most of these songs have been milling up in my mind for a while now, some I started writing back when I put down the electric guitar and ding-digga-dinged my way through summer on the back porch,” she said on her official Web site. “All of them live in the same wide frame and seem to belong together.”
The concept for the album’s name and title track sounds simple enough. While Harmer was watching TV one day with a guitar in her lap, a friend gave her a Tarot card reading over the phone.
“I’ve drawn a mountain,” her friend said. Harmer, 35, responded, “I’m a mountain.”
The album was recorded over a short span of time. “We recorded my new album in four days,” she told the Boston Herald last month. “We were in the zone and we had great players who could pull it off.”
“The Phoenix” builds on themes of courage and renewal and the inspiring “How Deep In the Valley,” which is sparse on instrumentation and puts Harmer’s soothing voice upfront, came from deep in the hymnbook of her memory. The sweet “Salamandre” is a children’s song sung in French by Harmer and written by two of her friends.
“I am thrilled that this modern classic can be part of this collection as it expresses my love for the magical and precious amphibian and the time-honored relationship between nature and imagination,” she said.
On “Goin’ Out,” written for an AIDS vigil, Harmer’s voice is saturated in the bittersweet tone of the song, harmonizing with her father’s warm timbre. “Oh lives don’t end/Goin’ out to be brought back again/Our lives don’t end,” they sing.
“I am so happy to have my dad singing it with me,” she said. He also lends his voice to “Oleander,” a tender, acoustic guitar ditty.
Although she’ll play live on Monday in Ann Arbor accompanied by a mandolin, violin, flute and accordion, this folk approach isn’t a life-long venture. “I’d like to do an album that I could hear on pop radio while I drive around the city,” she told the Boston Herald, “a really big, anthemic sound. Maybe the next record.”
Harmer told the Asheville Citizen-Times recently that she’s excited for her fans to hear the fresh material she’s cooked up. “It’s a new CD, new band, new songs, a great feel,” she said. “I just really want people to come out and hear it.”
With the universal messages of love, loss and living on “Mountain,” Harmer said, “This record was made for everyone, everywhere. Like the smiles we had on our faces when we made it, we hope it spreads far-and-wide.”

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.