Americana’s Finest: Sugarcane Jane “On a Mission” LP Review (out on March 1st)

Sugarcane Jane’s latest album, “On A Mission,” is a captivating journey through the diverse influences and styles that define the band’s unique sound. From heartfelt ballads to rollicking folk tunes and even some surprising ska influences, the album is a testament to Sugarcane Jane’s versatility and musical prowess.

The album kicks off with the track, “Try To Make It Look Like Me,” which combines alternative country and folk influences with clever songwriting and strong delivery. Crawford’s vocals serve as the backbone of the song, conveying a sense of defiance and self-acceptance that resonates deeply with listeners. Paired with rollicking instrumentals, the track is both fun and thought-provoking, showcasing Sugarcane Jane’s ability to craft memorable and meaningful music.

“Spirit Push” brings a spiritual aspect to the album, with its simple instrumentals and grounded lyrics creating a sense of serenity and introspection. The song’s stripped-down arrangement allows the beautifully blended vocals of Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford to take center stage, imbuing the track with a sense of authenticity and depth. It’s a poignant moment on the album that highlights Sugarcane Jane’s ability to convey emotion through their music.

On the other end of the spectrum, “The Candle” offers a somber tone, at the beginning. Even though the track picks up the pace along the way, the song’s introspective lyrics and gentle melodies provide a welcome contrast to the album’s more upbeat tracks, offering listeners a moment of reflection and peace. Crawford’s vocals are particularly poignant here, conveying a sense of vulnerability and longing that is both captivating and freeing.

A particular highlight of the album is the track “Fly On The Wall,” which infuses ska and shuffle influences into Sugarcane Jane’s signature sound. The song’s infectious rhythms and catchy hooks make it impossible to resist moving along to, while still retaining the band’s trademark authenticity and sincerity. It’s a bold departure from the album’s more traditional Americana sound, showcasing Sugarcane Jane’s willingness to experiment with different genres and styles.

Between all of these songs, the band maintains great production. While the standard go to for folk music is to strip down production as much as possible, with “On A Mission,” the band plays around a bit more. The result is incredibly thoughtful and clever production, by Crawford, befitting the tone and mood of each song appropriately.

Overall, “On A Mission” is a highly enjoyable album that showcases Sugarcane Jane’s many influences and styles phenomenally well. Crawford’s emotive vocals, Lee’s strong and supportive harmonies, and the band’s expertly crafted instrumentals make for a compelling listening experience that will leave you wanting more. They’re a uniquer sound in Americana music, and “On A Mission” is a shining example of their creativity.

-John Simpson