Sarah Kohrs is a pianist and songwriter who has been in the process of reconnecting with her own musical heritage and developing a new pathway via her website and local performances. And she has talent. A lovely touch on the piano combines with a growing confidence in her singing voice to give her songs a wonderful personal touch.
Sarah and Mark Tuomenoksa teamed up some time ago, with Mark looking to give Sarah a bit of a boost as an arranger and producer, which ultimately resulted in Tumo-Kohrs. Mark is a lively keyboard and sax player who has brought some professional production sensibilities to Sarah’s tunes, which have also been performed by Berkshire icon Wanda Houston, she of the fabulous voice. Wanda has also lent some support to Sarah as she has tuned up her act.
There is perhaps a fragile balance to this step up from solo performing. The No.10 Steakhouse gig was a revealing example. No.10 itself is a tough physical location to play. Booths prevent nearly everyone from seeing the performers. As the hostess said to us as we tried to claim a seat, “This is a restaurant”. Fair enough, but there may be some compromises that coukd be made in the set up that would give performers here a better chance at connecting visually with their audiences. That said, we commend the management for featuring a number of area artists for live music in the age of digital piped in tunes or open mic night overkill. And of course, incredible steaks, and all manner of good things to eat and drink.
In any case, the Tumo-Kohrs crowd was a good one, seemingly many friends and family, who were tuned in to the performance. And here, I was a bit let down as Sarah first strummed a guitar and sang some covers with Mark on keyboard, followed by more covers with both of them on keyboards. Much applause was generated, but I wanted to hear Sarah’s songs and the touching, subtle nuances that make them so compelling. Perhaps this came in a final set, and if so, I most certainly missed out.
But I can’t help but wonder if Sarah might be persuaded to occasionally return to some solo gigs in a coffee house type atmosphere, someplace with a baby grand perhaps. While Mark has done a great job as an arranger and producer, there is something about Sarah’s solo performance of her songs that generates a different kind of emotional connection. This is not to say that Tumo-Kohrs doesn’t fit the bill and Mark deserves much credit for helping this flower bloom. But the quality of Sarah’s writing is also perfect for an intimate setting.
The Tumo Kohrs album is called Every String and they will be at No 10 Steakhouse on Friday, May 8.
Have a listen at https://www.tumo-kohrs.com/#home-section