For a while most people still recalled her as the precocious next-generation talent that produced one of the defining hits of the internet age, 'I Wish I Was A Punk Rock (With Flowers In My Hair)', this talented singer-songwriter has come a long way in the years since then. As Sandi now says, "The strange thing about having the kind of success I had, people think they know you. In fact, people don't know me at all."
That is all about to change, however, with the release of Sandi's superb new album, Flesh and Blood. Recorded at Nashville's legendary 16 Tons studio, with celebrated Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson in the production hot seat, the fourth Sandi Thom album is, she says, "the first album I've done that is really all about me." It's a sound that combines the blues-rock raunch of belting opening track 'Help Me' with the balladic, country-flavored charm of 'In The Pines'; that shows how to funk it up, as on the strutting, clavinet-led 'Stormy Weather'; and that knows how to break your heart, as with the movingly climactic finale track, 'Lay Your Burden Down'.
Featuring a core studio band led by producer Rich Robinson on guitar and including fellow former Black Crowe and widely travelled session star Audley Freed (guitar), respected Nashville stars Mike Webb (keys/Dobro) and James
Haggerty (bass), and Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, there are also guest appearances from acclaimed singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte Marie and famous Rolling Stones collaborator, saxophonist Bobby Keys.
Says Robinson: "Sandi really stretched herself and made a bold new album. Her songs are honest and very strong. Her vocal abilities are showcased really well, as is her guitar work, and harp playing. Sandi's a well-rounded musician and she made a great record. It was great working with her."
Legendary producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, John Hiatt, Journey) also mixed a track, 'When The Sun Comes Crashing Down'. "Her writing is fantastic," says Shirley, "and her singing is great on a great song. 'When The Sun Comes Crashing Down' has everything it needs to be a hit!" Then there is the intriguingly titled 'I Love You Like A Lunatic', based on her "life-changing" love affair with superstar blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. The couple have been together three years now, living and loving on and off the road. Like a modern-day Johnny Cash and June Carter story, "my life just turned crazy," says Sandi. "Yet thatâ€™s what everybody
wants, that insane kind of love that utterly consumes you."
Like David Bowie and Elton John, who also enjoyed early one-off hits before finding their true niche as musical artists, Sandi feels that Flesh and Blood is her coming of age album. "All I ever want to do is write songs that connect with people. And with this album I've finally found a place where I can make the very best music I can achieve. The people that only know me from 'Punk Rocker" won't recognize me on this album. But they are going to find out."