EllaHarp Hits with “Shotgun Sadie”
It’s truly something how many phases Half Moon Bay’s EllaHarp, accompanied by The False Bottom Band, is able to run through in four and a half minutes’ worth of “Shotgun Sadie”, her latest single. Mind you, there’s no protracted introduction on this piece, either.
Nonetheless, the tune consistently builds from the verses to the hook and back again, while pausing, on cue, for some much accomplished banjo strumming midway through the cut. The energy rises once again with a final hook before something akin to an a capella—albeit one joined with a smattering of guitar chords and, perhaps, intermittent strings—for a fantastic finish…until the tune segues into yet more eruptions of “Shotgun Sadie.”
The musical transitions, climaxes, and rising actions are particularly suited for this song in which Ella embarks on a lyrical storytelling missive. The whole feel of the work is perhaps a singular nod to the early 90’s flick Thelma and Louise, or perhaps any other sort of outlaw/countrified affair starring at least one firearm clad woman.
This point is evidently taken to heart by the artist and the band, who imbue “Sadie” with a down home, dosie-doe, pointed boots stomping, cowboy hat raising, production. This quality is aided by Ella’s dream-like vocals and powerful voice, which sounds good before the music really gets to going. The percussion is interesting, to say the least, and is evocative of a call for all listeners (or dancers, as they may be) to clap, tap, stomp, or pound in rhythm.
That’s got to be Ella handling at least one of those stringed instruments on this number, most likely the lead banjo. Still, the guitar sounds are at times doubled and tripled up for good measure, and enjoined ever so often with the heralding of strings, which help to elevate the action, both musically and lyrically.
It’s a little ambiguous as to which instruments The False Bottom Band provided, but the group is described as a bluegrass outfit. With Andrew Heringer on production and recording the piece, Ella’s managed a frank, down to earth track worthy of at least a follow-up—if not a full length effort.