By: Jason Baker
November 7, 2007
Hard-working indie singer/keyboardist/songwriter Morgan Sadler wants to perform in front of as many people, in as many places as she can and Toronto has excited her with the opportunities for that which it offers. Raised in Whitby and having returned to the GTA from a few years at University in Kingston her story is the familiar one of the artist migrating to the big city not necessarily to make it big but merely to be heard.
The coherent quality of Ms.Sadler’s lyrical narratives is equal to the task of telling her story. The candor so intrinsic to her nature ensures her interpretations will be truthful. In my opinion (obviously) her story happens to one well-worth telling.
In this regard she is similar to most of the artists in the local scene these days all of whom tend to state that they just want to carve out their own niche musically and build an audience of whatever size without regard to financial incentive.
Even the most cynical of people, especially those that make up Toronto’s fickle live music audiences don’t tend to doubt the sincerity of those musicians who say they are ignoring profit motive because they all tend to pass a kind of test, which proves that motive to be virtually non-existent. That test being they perform for a pittance with an irregular supply of gigs over a long period of time and quite often couldn’t be happier even though they might otherwise enjoy a steady flow of income in other jobs. Ms.Sadler has this affliction fully as bad as any performer here.
I recently mused to a musician friend of mine my sense that poverty is the musician’s natural state. In response she imparted this telling quote "Let the artist have just enough to eat, and the tools of his trade: ask nothing of him. Materially make the life of the artist sufficiently miserable to be unattractive, and no one will take to art save those in whom the divine daemon is absolute." – Clive Bell.
Sometimes the truth is not so much of a comfort. But today’s artists are learning to manage their expectations in indulging their respective gifts. Gone are the days when musicians used to learn how to fill out a rider form before they could play a note. That moment in time was a very brief one. It is a moment in time a youthful performer such as Ms.Sadler does not even remember. She would have had little time for such tacky boorishness anyway.
Ms.Sadler is highly original, and down to earth in an industry filled with performers who have at times felt forced (and it looked forced) to adopt stylistic affectations in hopes of cultivating the most superficial kind of following. In other words it would seem like she has been performing in this town for decades because those people who have, know (often from painful experiences) that contrived gimmicks just don’t work here.
The sound she has honed is a rather unusual mix that evokes Norah Jones, Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor but there is a kind of whimsical eccentricity of the type that tends to defy written description. Take a quick listen on her Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/morgansadlermusic and you can judge it for yourself. It isn’t spoof and is not homage. That which is heard sounds rather like it got there on its own. She clearly has gotten comfortable (in a good way) and confident with whom she is musically. This is best heard on tracks like "Simple" and "All in My Head".
If you get word that Morgan Sadler is playing in a local venue, consider attending not only to listen to those deeply soulful and sensual feminine vocals, and competent keyboard playing but also to meet this good-natured and self-deprecating performer. She is a pleasure to hear, and a true talent.
Ms.Sadler is set to perform Dec. 21st, 5-8pm, at Gate 403 (403 Roncesvalles). Contained within her set will be compositions from the album she is working on at The Music Scene studio complex in Whitby. Though I have never heard of Gate 403 I remain intrigued by the performer and will venture in to the unknown by going to her show there.
If the place is short of smelling like an old gym sock in a hamster cage then it will already be a higher end establishment than several Toronto establishments I have had occasion to spend time in. If the wait staff is interested in bringing you the beer you ordered rather than flirting with you in hopes of selling you a bag of pot you can note that you really are in a classy joint.