](http://www.lorihogan.com/uploaded_images/sh-718985.JPG) It’s been a surprisingly busy few weekends, considering I’m not known as a social butterfly or anything. Last weekend was birthday party and anniversary celebration, this weekend was SpiritFest and Sarah Harmer, of which I write now.
I don’t remember the “when” of getting hooked on Sarah Harmer… it was after her first solo album (You Were Here), before the second(All of our Names). She’s not what you’d call mainstream Canadian pop or anything.. some parts are pop, some are country, some are folky and bluegrassy…. you know what? I don’t know how to classify her, and I don’t think I want to try. We were fortunate enough to see her in concert two years back at the Arts and Culture Centre, and I was thrilled when i found out she was gonna be back. Different venue, this time around it was Holy Heart of Mary Auditorium, in a formerly Catholic-girls school, now home to heathen of both sexes and many religions. Different format this time, no opening act (at ACC it was Josh Ritter, who I knew nothing of before that concert and now think he’s totally awesome) and more band than I remember.
Overall, I’d rate it five stars out of five. Many favorites from “You Were Here” and “All of Our Names” - Coffee Stain, Pendulums, Tether, Dandelions in Bullet Holes, Around this Corner - were played, along with some non-standard stuff (a cover of a Dave Hodge/Music Maul song that was interesting, “Black Coffee” off “Songs for Clem”). She got the chance to shine solo for two or three songs when the band left, but the band itself is a definite complement to her style. Take her beautiful voice and add the flute, clarinet, piano, guitar, mandolin and that thingie I don’t know the name of (electric mouth piano?), and it sounds perfect. And, for the record, the clarinet rocks… it’s all about playing standing up.
And, to cap off a great concert, there was a two-song encore: “Lodestar”, my favorite Sarah Harmer song, and “How Deep in the Valley”, sung a cappella by all band members at the edge of the stage. A wonderful closing. :)