Sarah Jane Scouten
They're trouble, these singers with gently furtive smiles that part to reveal sad, sweet songs. They pull you in with their fine-spun, mandolin-backed melodies and sprightly voices, but their words are of heartbreak, indifference and a little bit of death. It's hard to imagine someone doing a prettier, flirtier job than Scouten with a song called “Cold and Heartless,” from her sophomore album The Cape, which was nominated for best traditional album at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Growing up on Bowen Island, B.C., she was exposed to so-lonesome folk at an early age, Hank Williams and Willie P. Bennett the regular sonic guests at her breakfast table. Scouten took a ferry to school each morning, broad and rich landscapes she would later sketch in words and music. Currently, the vivid intensity of Montreal colours her songs. Backed by the fiddle, mandolin and bass of her Brilliant String Band, you won't feel cheated that Sarah Jane Scouten tricked you into thinking she'd be all sweetness and light.