“I like her songs, each one has a great line or two that jump out and slap you in the face. She can do funny and she can do sad, there’s just something special in her stanzas that are better than most. Picture a feisty 12 year old Tom boy in a dress gripping a sling shot.”
- C.R. Avery
“Sarah Jane Scouten is the real new deal. New songs that seem instantly familiar, written in the old time style. Beautiful delivery and phrasing, imaginative narratives, and excellent musicianship. Sarah Jane is not to be missed.”
- Sheesham Crow, Sheesham and Lotus
At age 5, Sarah Jane Scouten was sitting on the dining room table, singing “Lace and Pretty Flowers,” by Canadian folk and country musician, Willie P. Bennett. On Bowen Island BC, she picked up guitar at age 12, and soon was happy to forgo a Friday night house party for an all-night kitchen jam. Hank Williams and Stan Rogers were her greatest inspirations, both a staple at Sunday morning pancake breakfast and afterward, singing bluegrass and gospel music with her father. Her talent for performing came naturally, and as chance would have it, so emerged a knack for songwriting.
Sarah Jane pairs sturdy, infectious melodies with lyrics that are candid, poignant and flirtatious, and “a flair for tying emotions to arresting images.” (Penguin Eggs) She now travels all over North America to festivals and workshops, gaining inspiration from contemporary and traditional folk musicians, as well as an ever-expanding collection of stringed instruments.
Based in Montreal, Sarah Jane recorded and co-produced her first album, Magpie Waltz (Independent) in 2011, at Concordia University’s Loyola Chapel. She sought out the fresh talents of Sarah Frank on fiddle, Luke Fraser on mandolin and Mathieu Lacombe on the upright bass to join her brilliant string band. Trilling mandolin, lavish bass and down-right bad-ass fiddle playing bring out the best in Scouten’s authentic sound. The all-string, all-acoustic record has flavours of Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, and a wealth of bluegrass and old-time music, whose “narratives and arrangements make for an impressive genre LP” (Montreal Mirror). The songs are faithful to a long-standing folk music tradition, but often spill over into modern themes that are outspoken and edgy, from homelessness to midwifery to tongue-in-cheek heartache songs and unabashed Canadiana.
Since the record’s release, Sarah Jane and her string band have opened for Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary at Montreal’s Festival de Folk Sur le Canal and toured the Yukon with Home Routes House Concert Series and across Canada. Tour highlights for 2013 include performing at South Country Fair, Campbell Bay Music Festival, Fire and Water Music Festival, Sorrento Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival and being invited to play at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival for the third time.
Look for the band’s new record in Spring 2014, recorded and produced by Andrew Collins at Sytesounds Studios in Toronto, ON.