Sara Marie Barron Brought Bedroom Soul to Montreal’s Club Balattou

The Evening Unfolded With Passion, Humour and a Pedal Loop

  • The Detroit singer ended her tour in Montreal. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

  • Barron’s songwriting is cuttingly honest, a quality that transcends from album to the stage. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

Detroit singer-songwriter Sara Marie Barron concluded her first tour at the Club Balattou last Tuesday. She stepped onto the stage covered head-to-toe in glitter, yet her voice stole the focus.

Barron performed songs from her first album, Sad But True, and teased with some that will be coming out in her next album. She described her sound as “bedroom soul,” for its sultry, lounge quality. She added that her band infuses some jazz influence.

“Everything that I say or sing on stage is just an experience that I’ve gone through,” said Barron. “Every song that I’ve written came from experience, or an emotion. I feel like it kind of happened that way, where it ends up sounding almost like a diary.”

Friends From Back Home is a new Montreal band, performing lighthearted originals. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

A high point of the night was Barron’s rendition of “Wanna Know,” the first single she came out with in 2018. Barron seemed in control on stage—amidst the sounds of her band composed of keys, bass, drum, and a trumpet, her voice dominated, while still delivering a coherent performance.

From Sad But True, Barron performed a stripped down version of “New York City,” a song about “the phenomenon of feeling haunted by memories, or a person, and being unable to separate a place from them.”

That song showcased Barron’s affective voice and versatility, and her songwriting is cuttingly honest, a quality that transcends from album to the stage.

While the formation was evidently well-rehearsed, the performance was still raw and real. Barron’s vocals are at times flirty and sexy, or sincere as she delivers a cutting line. The subtle dialogue between Barron and the trumpet player elevated the performance, as they both, at times, carried the melody.

“Every song that I’ve written came from experience, or an emotion. I feel like it kind of happened that way, where it ends up sounding almost like a diary.” — Sara Marie Barron

That’s one of the reason why people find it honest, because I write from a point of super vulnerability. Yeah it’s sad, but it happened and I’m good. And this is the result of it.”

“So, those songs are super special to me. That whole album was just marking a time in my life, a coming of age album for me.”

Barron wrote the songs from Sad But True between the ages of 20 and 22. She said the album reflects her life at the time.

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“My motto is that if one person can connect with a song,” said Barron, “then I’ve done my job. If a bunch of people can, I’m super happy.”

“What I get out of those songs is healing,” she continued. “Best case scenario is that someone is sitting down listening to my record or watching a show, and that brings them a little bit of healing, too.”

Barron performed “New York City,” a song about “the phenomenon of feeling haunted by memories, or a person, and being unable to separate a place from them.” Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

Barron shared the stage with Lea Keeley, who performed a striking set with her guitar and a pedal loop. Her acoustic version of Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” had the audience dancing and grooving. The new Montreal band Friends From Back Home opened the evening with an assortment of original songs.

The gig was originally pitched to Lotus Collective, a Montreal-based collective of women and non-binary performers that aims to give them a platform and opportunities. Lotus co-founder Monica Paraghamian explained Lotus was unavailable, so she brought some friends together and created Friends From Back Home for the gig.

“It’s a testament for the purpose of the collective,” she said. “When opportunities are offered to Lotus, and we can’t get a formation or a quartet […] we pass it on to other members of the collective.”

Friends From Back Home broke the ice, inviting the audience to imagine their performance as a barbecue between friends where a few people force the others to listen to them play. The rest of their set followed with the same lightheartedness and unfolded in comedy.

Visist Barron’s Facebook page for updates about her latest music.

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