Sarah Goodin, Sarah in the Wild: June 14th at the Honeymoon

If you pay any attention to the show calendars, then you probably recognize the name of Sarah Goodin. She is a busy lady after all. Case in point: during the span of a week, she played two shows (one solo at the Honeymoon and one with her full band at O’Donnell’s Bellingham Flea Market.) While both projects have much in common- namely Goodin as the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist- they are not the same act by any means, but rather two facets of a very talented singer and songwriter.

Goodin’s solo set, a bill she shared with fellow Bellingham songwriter Galen Emanuele, featured her voice and her acoustic guitar. A singer-songwriter friend of mine once told me that she wished she could sing like Sarah Goodin because “she could really belt it out.” And, as this was my first time actually hearing Sarah in person, it is a very true statement. In fact, I can’t think of many other singer-songwriters in town that can belt it out like Sarah. Her hour long set featured a mix of original songs and covers from the likes of The Beatles, John Prine and The Nine Inch Nails ( or Johnny Cash, depending on which version of “Hurt” you prefer.) One of the highlights of the set for me was the very first song she sang, “Break.” There was no guitar, just her voice, and then she instantly transitioned into another song with no break in between. Her voice commands attention, and that is just what she got from every person crammed into the Honeymoon. It was an intimate show, interlaced with banter from Goodin, and the perfect showcase for her performance.

A week later, Sarah took the stage with her band, Sarah In The Wild in the outdoor area of the Flea Market. The band is a three-piece with Goodin on vocals and electric guitar, Cade Capp on drums and Jake Werrion on bass. The main difference, of course, between Goodin’s two projects is volume, but the songs do take on a different tone than when played with electric instruments (although I’m not entirely sure if she played any of the same songs during the two separate shows. That is how differently it sounds.) Sarah In The Wild has a more bluesy feel, and maybe even a little bit of a grunge-ish edge, well if you consider early P.J. Harvey to be grunge in any way, shape or form. Her voice is still as powerful and as prominent, but the distorted guitar, driving bass and thudding drums level the playing field more so than an acoustic guitar does. She has to sing louder, which- while still pretty- sounds much more visceral and cathartic when compared to how she sings when playing acoustically.

It seems almost as if the whole point of the band is to let loose and be a loud rock band, rather than express the introspection and lovelorn emotions that take center stage when she played the acoustic solo show. While I have not read the lyrics, I’m sure they have the share the same subjects and themes, but the delivery is the difference between her solo act and her band. It’s the difference between sadness and happiness, anger and regret. Either way, she can belt it out, she can make a person bang their head (o.k. a bit of an overstatement, maybe just nod their head. Sarah In The Wild is not a metal band or anything) and she can make a person cry. In the end, what more can a person want from one songwriter?