By Al Kaufman
They're everywhere. Those people who like to say, "I saw REM in a small club before Chronic Town, before they even had a record contract." Music fandom is sometimes a competitive sport. It's important to be the first to notice somebody, to say that you saw someone before anyone else even knew that person existed.
Atlantans are going to have a chance to play that role this week when Sarah Pray comes to town for the first time to play Kavarna and Smith's Olde Bar. Although she hails in Minnesota, Pray is a throwback to two of the better female vocalists to come out of Atlanta; Kelly Hogan and Jennifer Nettles. Her lungs are large and her voice is full of power and passion, but also beauty. She can get bluesy and funky like Nettles could before she went country with Sugarland, and she can also throw some twang on a torch song, a la Hogan, as she does on the wonderful "Still Here," which will be included on her Empty Words album, due out in early 2010.
That's right, folks, in about 15 years you'll be able to say that you saw her before her first CD came out. You won't regret it.