“I like her songs , each one has a great line or two that jump out and slap you in the face. She can do funny and she can do sad, there’s just something special in her stanzas that are better than most. Picture a feisty 12 year old Tom boy in a dress gripping a sling shot.”
- C.R. Avery
At age 5, Sarah Jane Scouten was sitting on the dining room table, singing “Lace and Pretty Flowers,” by the late Canadian folk and country musician, Willie P. Bennett. On Bowen Island BC, she picked up guitar at age 12, and soon was happy to forgo a Friday night house party for an all-night kitchen jam. Hank Williams and Stan Rogers were her greatest inspirations, both a staple at Sunday morning pancake breakfast and afterward, singing bluegrass and gospel music with her father. Her talent for performing came naturally, and as chance would have it, so emerged a knack for songwriting.
Sarah Jane pairs sturdy, infectious melodies with lyrics that are candid, poignant and flirtatious, and “a flair for tying emotions to arresting images.” (Penguin Eggs) She now travels all over North America to festivals and workshops, gaining insight and inspiration from contemporary and traditional folk musicians, as well as an ever-expanding collection of stringed instruments.
Now living in Montreal, Sarah Jane recorded and co-produced her first album, Magpie Waltz (Independent) in 2011, at Concordia University’s Loyola Chapel. With discerning taste, she sought out the fresh talents of Sarah Frank on fiddle, Luke Fraser on mandolin and Mathieu Lacombe on the upright bass to join her brilliant string band. Trilling mandolin, lavish bass and down-right bad-ass fiddle playing bring out the best in Scouten’s authentic sound. The all-string, all-acoustic record has flavours of Joni Mitchell, Graham Parsons and a wealth of bluegrass and old-time music, whose “narratives and arrangements make for an impressive genre LP” (Montreal Mirror).
Since the record’s release, Sarah Jane and her string band have opened for Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary at Montreal’s Festival de Folk Sur le Canal and embarked upon a Yukon tour with Home Routes House Concert Series as well as toured Quebec, Ontario, BC and Alberta.