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Sarah Harmer: New Low

The first song from an eagerly awaited album features virile electric guitar, a lacing of brass, and forceful vocals, making for a rousing call to arms.

Sarah Harmer: New Low

By Kerry Doole

Sarah Harmer: New Low (Arts & Crafts): This is the first song to be made available from the award-winning Ontario singer-songwriter and environmentalist's new album, Are You Gone.


Due out on February 21 via Arts & Crafts, this is Harmer's first full body of work in ten years, so to term it 'anticipated' is a decided understatement. Her gorgeous voice and potent songwriting have indeed been missed.

In a label press release, Harmer says of New Low: “I was seeing many more people out protesting and standing vigil, beyond the usually dedicated Indigenous leaders and social justice activists. I met with Queen's University students who were organizing to push the university to divest from fossil fuel investments and then met with the principal of the university.

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"When pressed, he dismissed the idea of divestment largely because he said it wouldn't make a difference to the fossil fuel industry, and also that sizeable donations and sponsorships made to the university by former students now at oil and gas companies created a 'grey area' of policy. The term stuck with me.  Sometimes it's good to see the nuance of a situation, and sometimes the calls for nuance are just straight-up cop-outs. I hope this song gets people to their feet, and not only to dance.”

More up-tempo than much of her material, it features virile electric guitar, a lacing of brass, and forceful vocals, making for a rousing call to arms.

Expect a mix of the political and personal on the rest of the record, one the press release terms "a meditation on the idea of presence, and a bookend to the questions posed on You Were Here, Harmer's much-revered 2000 solo debut (TIME called it the best debut album of the year). One very welcome return to action.

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To promote Are You Gone, Harmer will play her first tour in a decade. Following US dates, she starts an extensive Canadian tour in Peterborough on March 24, closing out in Vancouver on May 2. Dates here

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Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat

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