Sandy Madaris,
Way Back Home
(Waterline, 2002)

Sandy Madaris is a new name out of Nashville. On Way Back Home she performs a number of songs written by Luke Powers, a professor of English. She is a very able performer with a strong voice, which is well suited to the lyrics provided.

The CD contains songs that, with time and exposure, could become folk music of tomorrow. They reflect life in our times, from shootings to drinking to joy riding.

"Man With a Loaded Gun" is a well-written and performed song that speaks eloquently of the danger of modern life posed by that man with a gun and "voices in his head." "Dad is Drunk" is, as you might expect, a song with a strong message about the power of alcohol and the destructive effects on the family -- "Dad is drunk, before he passed out he hit mom in the head." Madaris sounds like Emmylou Harris at her best on this track. It is given a simple production that makes the lyrics sound all the stronger.

"Hey Hector" is about the apparent futility of some lives, as the singer loves the idea of stealing a car and attracting "sirens and flashing lights." Track seven is an excellent take on the recent history of pop music as it asks "Whatta You Done to Elvis, Dr Nick." Sandy will not win many friends among the fans of The King -- "He was just a Momma's boy, wasn't too durn bright" -- nor a particular record label -- "made a lot of money for RCA" -- but gets it right on "turning black to white" regarding his music.

"If and When" is another very good track that benefits from the male backing vocal. "Tonight With You in Tennessee" is a lovely and gentle love song with a fabulous melody that could be very popular on the radio.

Sandy Madaris is a singer making a debut in a very crowded field. Her voice, choice of music and performance tell me that, given even half a chance, she could have a very bright future. I look forward to hearing more of her, especially on radio, to get her very relevant messages across.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 9 November 2002