When Rachael Sage first started out, her first ever tour was with Ani DiFranco. It was a stroke of genius to put these two outspoken ladies together – both LGBT advocates, both indie label musicians, both philanthropists in and outside of music. It was a match made in heaven, so much so that, when Rachael needed a little motivation and encouragement, she turned to the music of her old friend.
It’s an emotionally charged cover. Following a cancer diagnosis in 2018, Sage’s life was turned upside down and she was asked to climb this “most humbling mountain”. Part of a playlist to keep her spirits up and determination strong was ‘Both Hands’, a quietly confident song which assures that good times are just around the corner, if you can only hold out hope for long enough to see and feel them. The performance in this live video is therefore all the more tear-jerking, and the congratulatory excitement at the end of the take between the musicians in the studio is very much understood.
Rachael Sage’s arrangement of this instantly-recognisable song takes DiFranco’s staccato guitar and changes it to a beautiful string quartet, played live in the studio with musicians and a conductor alongside Rachael’s powerhouse voice, which effortlessly conveys the pure joy and quiet confidence of the song.
This is the second song in her newest season of releases, in advance of her upcoming album, Character. This 12-song collection is hotly anticipated, as it features songs Rachael wrote whilst processing her cancer diagnosis and full recovery. Co-produced by Rachael and Grammy® winner Andy Zulla (Kelly Clarkson, Rod Stewart) the tracks were recorded by engineer Mikhail Pivovarov at both Carriage House Studios and her home studio in NYC.
Of the album, Rachael says that, “I don’t think I understood the full meaning of the word ‘character’ until I was suddenly required to redefine my own…if there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s that I have a much deeper relationship with gratitude.” If ‘Both Hands’ is anything to go by, Character will be an album as celebratory as it is humbling, as joyous as it is reflective, and filled to the brim with unadulterated gratitude for simply being alive.