Sarah Pray | A May Morning
Sarah Pray has a gentle, almost child-like voice. Though innocent in tone and melody, her lyrics stand as the testimonials of a young songwriter well traveled and mature beyond her years. Born from two years on the road, A May Morning is an album about the hazards of the heart, the pain of loss, and the search for contentment in this sometimes lonely world.
A native of Madison, Wisconsin, the 22-year old Sarah Pray moved to Minneapolis in the summer of 2007—just after graduating college and just ahead of the economic collapse. She was welcomed in at the 400 Bar where she first built a following at her weekly Linda Rondstadt tribute show, progressively working her own songs into the set. She shared the historic stage on other nights with the likes of Michelle Malone, Felice Brothers, and Sick of Sarah.
Sarah spent six months on the road in 2009, touring coffee shops and bars on the east coast and then in Europe all by her lonesome. She would tour Europe again in 2010 after the release of her debut album Empty Words, but this time with fellow Wisconsin folk songwriter Thomas Kivi. The two began performing as a folk-duo that summer and returned from Europe with harmonies that hearken back to Emmylou Harris and Graham Parsons.
With songs inspired by the lonely road, the death of a friend, and a new found love, Sarah Pray began recording for A May Morning in the summer of 2011 at Red Pill studios in St. Louis, Missouri. Producer/Engineer Jacob Detering (Bonnie Raitt, Amy Petty, Ben Taylor, R. Scott Bryan) helped craft a vocally centered, alt-rock album that blends Mazzy Star’s sound of the mid-90s with those of Sarah Pray’s influences like Linda Rondstadt, Portishead, and Jessica Lea Mayfield.
Detering recruited guitar player Dan McMahon, who scored original music for the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated. Grammy nominated Tony Esterly laid down pedal-steel on “When I Come Home,” “Promise Me,” and “Maybe in the Morning,” giving the album a country tinge. Darren Garvey and Jacob Detering laid down the minimal low-end and percussion, while Thomas Kivi lends his voice to make this richly vocal album.