Sara Trunzo: Dirigo Attitude
Unity, Maine. The name alone gives you the warm sense of community and belonging. If you look deeper, you’ll find a rural town in Waldo County of south-central Maine. Unity is most known for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Unity College – a private, liberal arts college that specializes in environmentally-focused degrees. These are the things that helped plant the seed for singer-songwriter Sara Trunzo to cultivate her debut LP, Dirigo Attitude which is slated for release on May 3, 2019.
Sara grew up in the state of New Jersey, near New York City, but spent much of her young adult life in Unity before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017 to pursue her storytelling career. Trunzo completed college in Unity and began serving the impoverished population in her rural community. For a decade, she worked hard to bring local produce to the tables of those around her by running a food bank farm. During this time, she came to realize that her bigger calling was to tell the stories of those she served and worked alongside in the fields. Her stories are not just those of south-central Maine, but the many folks scattered through rural America that know this type of life all to well - a life of hardship, sacrifice and resilience. In Dirigo Attitude, Sara is singing their songs.
“Dirigo” is a Latin term that means “I lead” or “I direct,” which Trunzo takes from Maine’s state motto. Sara uses that term to describe the attitude that she and many of her community have in which to sustain a self-sufficient way of life. Trunzo’s masterful delivery in each song of the album paints a poignant picture of the life style for those she lives and works amongst. Sara’s pure, crisp voice and straight to the point lyrics provide the listener with the realism of the subject matter.
Adding legs to this already well written album, are some legendary Grammy-nominated hard-hitters like producer, Erick Jaskowiak. Darrell Scott lends his voice to the album’s lead off track, “Food and Medicine.” This song gives a stark consciousness to the choices many people face when they reach the end of their paycheck. “In the Bend of the Cumberland” you will hear Mary Gauthier join Sara on vocals. Mary has been a cheerleader for Sara ever since hearing her song, “Wishbone” from her 5-song debut EP “Thanks Birdie” which was released in 2017. The song “Wishbone” tells the tale of a woman attempting to stand her ground against the stalking and harassment of a male counterpart. “Food and Medicine” and “Wishbone” became my stand out favorites on the new album. I appreciated the truth in her lyrics and her no-nonsense approach to the narrative in each song. “Wishbone” won Sara second place in the songwriting competition for the 2017 Maine Songwriters Association and in 2018, “Food and Medicine” won first place. Another song that stood out for me was “Late Summer Bouquet.” The theme of the song brought to mind the quote, “Everyone we meet in life is either for: a reason, a season, a minute or a lifetime.” The album comes to a close with a beautiful tribute to the community which inspired her. “I Believe in Unity” features some 70 members of the Unity, Maine area.
Dirigo Attitude also boasts an all-star cast of players. Rachael Moore (engineer), Eric Conn (mastering), Megan McCormick on lead guitar, Adam Ollendorff on pedal steel and baritone guitar, Jesse Wells (of Tyler Childers and The Foodstamps) on fiddle, Kai Welch on piano, organ, and Wurlitzer, Britton Patrick Morgan on mandola and banjo, John Zavodny on drums, and Jake McCarthy on bass. Angie Primm and Gale Mayes join the nearly 70 Unity, Maine community members to provide background vocals, and Appalachian Hippie Poet, a.k.a. Bill Alexander, performs his poem “The Back Table.”
To celebrate the May 3rd release of her full-length album, Trunzo will be making stops all over the Northeast with a few Tennessee and Minnesota events sprinkled in throughout this summer and fall. To order your copy of Dirigo Attitude and follow Sara’s tour schedule, visit www.saratrunzo.com.
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