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New album on show during UK tour
American musician Sari Schorr burst onto the Blues-Rock scene in 2016 with her debut album, A Force of Nature. Two years on, she is preparing to release her sophomore album, Never Say Never (on October 5), which she is showcasing on a UK tour that visits Robin 2 in Bilston on September 18.
Never Say Never: Sari Schorr (pic: Rob Blackham)
What was your favourite part of recording the album?
One of the great joys I had making the album was recording in an all-analogue, renovated 17th Century 90ft barn at The Grange Residential Studio in the beautiful English countryside of Norfolk. I felt completely free from distraction. Back in Brooklyn the week before, I had been struggling to concentrate on lyrics with the shattering construction noise outside our door. Brooklyn was getting new water mains. At The Grange, working in a residential studio provided the perfect environment to focus our energy on creating the best work we could.
What is the idea behind the album title?
My journey has taken me down a road gutted with potholes of all sizes – some small enough to narrowly escape, others craters too cavernous to avoid without snappy reflexes. But we all get our fair share of pits and punctures. The trick is to simply never give up. 'Never Say Never' is the gentle tap on the shoulder whispering the message, hang tough, stay the course and keep moving forward until you hear yourself say, 'I did it!'.
Hang tough: Sari Schorr (pic: Tom Rowe)
Tell me about your band and the team you worked with on the album.
I am a full-fledged addict for working with inspiring people. I can tell you that it really takes a great team to make anything great. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by incredibly talented people. I've had the privilege of working with my producer and songwriting partner Henning Gehrke for many years. We met in Germany, where Henning has his studio. He has such a strong artistic vision and knows exactly how to bring out the best in the musicians he works with. As far as my band goes, anyone who knows me knows that my standards are pretty high and I can tell you that these musicians are so good, they even make this cynical singer shed a tear from time to time. The band features Ash Wilson on guitar, Bob Fridzema on Hammond and keyboards, Mat Beabel on bass and Roy Martin on drums. We live to play and play to live. It's that simple.
On stage: Sari Schorr and her band (pic: Michale Hoebel)
Do you have a pre-show ritual? If so what is it?
My pre-show ritual is to just relax with the band and crew. I try not to miss an opportunity to laugh with the guys and enjoy their company. My tour manager Al keeps his eye on us and the clock and gets everyone on stage on time.
How do like to spend your time on a day off during a tour?
There aren't too many days off on our tour, but when there is time, I go exploring. I'm a former marathon runner and love excessively long walks, so getting on my feet after many long hours in the bus is a physical and emotional necessity. When I'm home in Brooklyn, I walk with my pit bull triplets and an oversized dog stroller that two of my girls insist on using on the return trip home. It's quite a sight, but anything goes in New York.
Days off: Sari Schorr (pic: Rob Blackham)
What is the one item you can't go on tour without?
I'm looking at my suitcase, trying to decide which item I'd grab first in a fire. I'll choose three things: first my sneakers because I can't live without them, second would be my Emily Dickinson poetry book, and third would be my bag of eclectic jewellery because everything I have/wear has a special meaning to me and was picked up somewhere along my travels on this wondrous journey.
Sari Schorr 2018 UK tour dates:
September 13: The Musician, Leicester; September 14: Borderline, London;
September 15: Mickelton Live; September 18: Robin 2, Bilston; September 19: The Louisiana, Bristol; September 21: Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd; September 22: Flowerpot, Derby; September 27: The Bullingdon, Oxford; September 28: Blue Funk Rhythm & Blues Club, Poynton; September 29: Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre, Godalming.