San Francisco Celtic folk singer and octave mandolin player, Sharon Knight, forges a distinctive voice and striking poetry that have won her a loyal following. She and longtime collaborator Winter tour internationally several months out of the year, performing at festivals, masquerades, conventions, cafes, shops and house concerts. They have performed main stages at Faerieworlds (OR), Sherwood Faire Celtic Music Festival (TX), New York Faerie Festival, as well as numerous smaller Celtic and mythic/fantasy festivals across North America.
2016 has seen the recent release of Sharon Knight’s 12-track album “Portals” through Trance Jam Records. According to Sharon, “Portals” is envisioned as “an otherworldly traveling carnival, where each performer wields a magic capable of opening windows to the realms of myth and dream.” The album features guest performances by several mythic music favorites such as SJ Tucker, Heather Dale, Wendy Rule, Sonja Drakulich (Faun, Stellamara), Nathaniel Johnstone (Abney Park), Tim Rayborn, Caith Threefires (Tempest, Pandemonaeon), and many more.
Sharon Knight is a singer songwriter who defies generalizations. While primarily influenced by the Celtic tradition, she is pushing the borders. Sometimes traditional and sometimes completely inventive, she is capable of perpetual surprises. Her skill as a composer is as impressive as is her vocal performances on this album, as she stacks Americana influences on a foundation of tried-and-true Celtic resources that makes for beautiful and compelling song craft. The pristine recording quality heightens the album’s mystique, making every instrument perfectly clear in even the broadest arrangement.
Starting from the upbeat opening track, “Crimson Masquerade”, each song tells its own story, and the beautiful, expansive soundscapes lend themselves very much to the listener’s imagination. You’ll find that the immaculately crafted compositions subtly build in intensity, leading to marvelously layered melodic anthems.
It must be something in the heavenly poetry or the exquisite melodies, but through it all, Sharon Knight’s hauntingly angelic voice guides, caresses and inspires. “Porcelain Princess” is beautiful and captivating in its own right, while “Slippers Of Rose” is purely magical. Sharon draws from an amazingly rich cavern of different kinds of music, breathing her own unifying force in delivering them in a manner that is at once both traditional and innovative.
Her work seems to thread itself together seamlessly, even though the sources for the individual songs are often quite different – as is evident from “Scent Of Your Skin” to “Trail Of Prayer” and “No Long Night”. The only way to properly appreciate her wondrous abilities is to experience them. This is music for the heart and soul; it pulls you in and takes you away. Close your eyes, and gratefully absorb Sharons’ compelling compositions and lyrics on tracks like “Melusina”, “Let The Waters Rise” and “Song For A Savior”.
You wouldn’t imagine that an artist could weave Celtic, Americana and blues-based styles so seamlessly into one tapestry, but not only does Sharon Knight do just that, she does it so beautifully that it’s passion and beauty cuts to the core of your soul. I am a latecomer to Sharon Knight’s talents, but “Portals” to me, sounds like a perfect introduction to her craft, which makes me firmly believe that her previous work is well worth exploring.