ABOA Gallery with Black Diamond Productions

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Is pleased to present an evening with powerhouse Blues and Soul singer Sarah Potenza!

Saturday March 21st, 2020

Doors at 6pm

Performance at 7pm

Seating is limited

Lounge open serving craft beer and wine

Touring and performing with her husband Ian Crossman

After performing in Denver the night before, Sarah is making a special appearance in Pagosa Springs.  Don't miss this rare opportunity!

Performance Cancelled

Purchase your Tickets Here

or at the gallery during business hours

Loud and Proud Vocalist Sarah Potenza Brings Her Unique Brand of Soul to ‘Road to Rome’

March 8, 2019 by Jim Hynes

Back for her second solo album, powerhouse vocalist Sarah Potenza is intent on empowering women and, for that matter, all of us, on her Road to Rome. It follows her bluesy 2016 debut, Monster, where she received raves from blues and roots lovers. The emboldened Potenza now delivers an album with even stronger messaging as she sings about self-worth, determination and drive.

If you’re not familiar with Potenza, you likely will be soon. She’s leveraged making it to the top twenty of 50,000 contestants on NBC’s “The Voice.” She’s appeared on Music City Roots, is a regular at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, and has played the Grand Ole Opry to standing ovations. Based now in Nashville, Potenza hails from Smithfield, RI where her band, Sarah & The Tall Boys, held down many New England gigs, becoming a fixture at the Charleston’s Rhythm & Roots Fest, as well as putting out several albums.

She has a brassy, evocative voice that can floor you. Although she continues to work with her songwriting husband Ian Crossman, she does much of the writing on this outing with Justin Wiseman, a piano player from Austin, TX. This creates quite a change in the dynamic and gives Potenza’s vocals an earthier quality. She broadens her scope to include pop and rock n’ roll but at heart, she’s a blues and soul singer.

Potenza also looked to a wider range of vocalists for inspiration. They included Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Pops Staples, the Dirty Projectors, RL Burnside, Bette Midler, and more. She feels that they gave her more conviction too. You can hear it in the opening “I Work For Me,” the single. She sings about being put down, being told she’s too big, simply not good enough. Her response is “Hey, I work for me, as in, my body, my spirit, my personality, who I am…It all works for me.” She consistently follows that with “Dickerson and Queen,” with the incessant refrain “I don’t give a fuck about nothing but the music.” “Who Do I Think I Am” has the line “you can’t stop me.” These are themes she had on her previous album, but they are more forceful here.

She can do the torch songs too. Listen to “Earthquake,” her love letter to Crossman, thanking him for his enduring support. She covers Grammy-nominated Mary Gauthier, who sent her the piano-driven song “Worthy.” There’s a girl group sound to “I Believe.” The title track is a ballad with gorgeous harmonies from Tonya Boyd-Cannon. Women are very much in the forefront of this effort which is timed for release on International Women’s Day. The album was produced by Jordan Brooke Hamlin (Indigo Girls, Lucy Wainwright Roche) and recorded with a female-heavy cast of collaborators – Kai Welch (keys on seven tracks), Vanessa McGowan ( bass on eight tracks), Hamlin (keys on five), Megan Coleman (drums on five). Vocalists, in addition to Cannon, are Lenesha Randolph, Alanna Royale, and Elizabeth Cook.

As last time, many songs are autobiographical, but Potenza also takes on the role of spokesperson. She’s focused on making her own statements, free of mainstream and frivolity. It’s a declaration of independence. Try these lines from “Diamond” – “I listen too closely when others they told me/who I was and who I was not/I went chasing after boys refused to recognize/They can’t fuck with girls like me/I blamed myself I cursed my gifts,/why did I have to be like this/I was just too young too young to see/I was born to be a diamond/The whole damn world gonna see me shinin’/I ain’t gonna keep on hiding/I was born to be a diamond.”

Not only will Potenza’s voice move you. Her words, as irreverent as they are at times, may empower you even more than they did last time.

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