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with Jesus

By David Werther.

Sarah Masen,  A History of Light and Shadows (Independent, EP, 2007); Woman’s Work is Alchemy (Independent, EP, 2007); and Magic that Works (Independent, EP, 2007). EPs available from

           Sarah Masen’s singing and songwriting are passionate, intensely emotional, and, in expressing and evoking redemptive suffering, they are true to the original sense of passio: suffering. A History of Light and Shadows begins with two gems, “Try” and “Let’s Kill Him.” Sarah’s singing carries so much conviction it is almost palpable. When in “Try” she sings “In my dream I called aloud for Jesus Christ; In my dream three other voices mocked me twice” one cannot escape the grip of her anguish. “Let’s Kill Him” begins sounding like a children’s song, which helps to underscore the innocence of the “one true king who comes to us riding on a donkey,” and then the brutality of those who respond with “Let’s kill Him.”

           Woman’s Work is Alchemy opens with “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” After setting the stage with familiar words of Scripture (“Unto us a child is born; unto us a little one; unto us a savior given; unto us in Bethlehem”) and beautiful harmonies, the song takes a twist when Sarah subverts the nursery rhyme (“Mary had a little lamb; little lamb was slain; Mary had a little lamb, worthy to be praised.”) It ends with “Burt and Elvis,” perhaps a picture of Sarah’s own home.

                Burt and Elvis in the red room
                My daughter is dancing in the next one
                There is a poem in every turn
                There is a baby in our bedroom
                And it's crying like a small bird
                I am praying he’ll sleep soon.

Magic that Works contains some of Sarah’s most impassioned singing (“I love you son; son I love you, warm as the sun” in “Dream in my Dream #2”) and best writing (“Together, We Live” and “Therapeutic/Charismatic”), the latter of which can be heard on her website

           Sarah’s singing is beautiful, mostly accompanied by acoustic guitar. Her poetic lyrics paint pictures appealing to both thought and imagination. These EPs are treasures.

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