BURLINGTON (Rixstep) — In case you're a galactic commuter only popping in on the planet on rare occasion, Sarah Blackwood is a vocalist and instrumentalist in Walk off the Earth, hailed by some as the most creative and inventive rock group since the Beatles.
Walk off the Earth make it obvious that music isn't something to merely be listened to: WOTE's music is something to watch as well. And Sarah Blackwood is no small part of the group's ascendance to worldwide recognition.
The YouTube video clip recorded in her boyfriend Gianni Luminati's home that was published 5 January last year was the second most viewed clip on YouTube for 2012. It featured a 'world first': of five people playing a single guitar - and singing in perfect four-part harmony, in one of the group's attention-grabbing covers, Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know'.
Watch Sarah keep her head down throughout the beginning of the song, only moving her left hand to play the three two-string fifth chords and her right hand to pluck them. Suddenly she comes to life for the second verse, and as she leads the group into the chorus, the performance is transformed from an interesting experiment into a work of genius.
[If the clip doesn't play locally, then click through to YouTube to see it. Walk off the Earth signed with Columbia of Canada after their appearance on the Ellen Show 23 January 2012 and Columbia of Canada are owned by Sony Music Enterprises and Sony Music Enterprises are trying to do an 'Edgar Bronfman' on the world. Don't blame Sarah or WOTE. Thank you.]
The above clip brought the Burlington group to the attention of the world, and suddenly everyone was digging into the WOTE back catalogue on YouTube (which is considerable). Although there are well over 60 highly entertaining clips available there, this page concentrates on the ones featuring Sarah.
And why this attention to Sarah? Because she and fellow band member Gianni Luminati have just announced she'll be having their baby in about four months time.
Sarah'd been a folk singer for ages. She joined the psychobilly group Creepshow to prepare to replace her older sister who'd decided to stay home and make babies. Here's a performance from right off the road (and with no sleep) of the group's big hit 'The Garden'.
Sarah and Gianni met along the line and started a duo. (Their last tour, down the coast of California, was canceled with the breakthrough after the Ellen Show.)
Someone Like You
WOTE's second most viewed clip with Sarah on vocals, piano, and flying ukulele. As would be seen with further WOTE covers, most viewers found the WOTE version far better. WOTE namely have a knack for making a cover more than a cover, bringing out dimensions in a composition even the composers didn't detect. An early appearance of the Gianni & Sarah puppets.
I Knew You Were Trouble
Here's Sarah leading members of the group and beatbox wizard Terry KRNFX in an a cappella version of a Taylor Swift hit that got a nod from the country princess herself.
Reckoning Song (One Day)
Featuring Sarah and Gianni (and Sarah and Gianni and Sarah and Gianni) in the kind of visual extravaganza that has viewers popping their eyes and wondering 'how did they do that' with perhaps a hint of what is to come in May.
Gianni and Sarah CLEAN THE STUDIO!
Timeout for household chores. Good thing they have a dog to help.
Fairytale of New York
Back to work and to a rooftop on Manhattan, visiting the Big Apple to say hello to Gianni's nephew who stars in a Broadway production. This clip has no tricks - it's simply amazing. And they're so obviously smitten. A classic.
Don't Worry Be Happy
Slapstick and tripe and very informal. What do you do when you're that bored?
Burn One Down
Sarah and Gianni and all the extended WOTE family love holidaying in the Caribe. This one obviously has post-production but it's another gem. People started wondering about the two by now, hoping things were as they appeared to be.
WAIT IT OUT
One of Sarah's most fabulous solo projects. She had her EP pressed in vinyl, 500 copies, then painted the jacket covers in a grid as filmed here. Every cover is therefore original (and numbered to boot).
A Hard Rain
Duet with Gianni's bro in-law, fellow WOTE band member Marshall. This is a new one for Sarah: she has the lyrics sheet in front of her on the floor. But listen carefully how they switch harmony parts. This isn't done every day. They fucking nail it, as Marshall says.
Another one from the Caribe that had people wondering 'how did they do that?' Don't miss the guitar tosses at the end!
CHEERS (Drink To That)
For fun. But what harmonies and what strumming.
The multi-instrumentalists back at work (and having fun) with tambourines attached to hihat stands, kazoos, chimes, ukes, castanets, drums, and guitars. Gianni sports a Nick Slaughter uniform for the occasion and Sarah has an orchid in her hair.
The ultimate guitar and uke tosser clip? Taking a song that should have gone nowhere from a group that should have done the same and turning it into pure entertainment. Don't miss the followup to see how it's all done!
Karma Police Behind the Scenes
Time to meet the rest of the WOTE family. This clip took all of Burlington.
Another fabulous duet with baby's father. Curt Cobain covered this one.
A mostly undiscovered high quality recording of their (as of January 2013) coming single 'Speeches' from Fort Lauderdale November last year.