Sarah Pirkle's Anticipated Debut Runs From Bluegrass to Southern Rock

Sarah Pirkle

Walking Tall Through High Grass

It's hard to believe that Walking Tall Through High Grass is Sarah Pirkle's first solo album, and not just because she's been such a familiar figure on the local scene for so long that you just assumed she'd recorded on her own by now. Walking Tall is a quietly powerful album spanning rural folk traditions, from straight-up country ("I'll Be There") and bluegrass to gospel and Southern rock ("Battle on the Field of Love"). The usual effect of such a broad reach is a watered-down kind of folk rock; here, Pirkle—with backing from her husband, Jeff Barbra, and a handful of area roots aces—bends each form to match her strong voice, which gives the whole range a sense of clear-eyed focus.