Sara Rachele, The NYC East Villager got her base in songwriting growing up in folk clubs in Decatur, GA — watching and learning from the storytellers of the area. After she was swooped up by music manager in town, she met a cast of alt-rockers, and went up to the city learn life’s lessons, and write them out in song like those before her. After setting up shop in Atlanta’s own East Atlanta Village, Rachele returns often to create and record music with some of the best of Atlanta’s rock’n’roll family.
On her ongoing partnership with Kristofer Sampson (who plays in New West Records band Ponderosa), Rachele says, “Kris adds this confidence to my work, I always leave challenged – and I think the songs are better for it.’
The daughter of a baby-boomer painter and Italian/Slovak immigrant, Rachele (pronounced ra-kelly) grew up a studio rat and folk child. Working for free cleaning out the cupboards at famed Atlanta acoustic hotspot Eddie’s Attic, she met countless musicians and writers and fell into bands as a side-player before she even knew how to write a song. While still a teenager, she became backing vocalist and keyboard player for The Love Willows, who promptly signed to Decca/Universal, writing and recording with producer, A&R, Mike Daly (Whiskeytown, Lana Del Ray, Grace Potter).
Eventually, though, Rachele decided to leave behind The Love Willows’ bubblegum pop sound, moved to Boston and enrolled for a time at Berklee College of Music, before dropping out to live in her newly adopted home of New York City. Inspired by its long history of seedy bohemian songwriters and poets, and by the energy of the city itself, Rachele filled up journals with her ramblings and penned ballad after ballad as she roamed the coffeehouses & nightclubs of the East Village, trading innocence for experience. Word spread quickly about her passionate delivery, her honest, unadorned lyrics and her uniquely Southern sound. Along with sidekick and fellow Atlanta expat Charlotte Kemp Muhl (with Sean Lennon, half of Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger), Rachele found a home—after graduating from Berklee College of Music — musical and otherwise—in New York.
“For such a big city, New York can be a pretty small town,” Rachele says. “I saw an ex across Houston Street once—he was playing a show I think, everyone always is, you lose track. But I remember running across four lanes of traffic—just seeing him, turning, and running through the East Village. No one ever leaves you in New York. You still have to learn how to know them. It’s the continuousness of it all—nothing every really ends. And the cabbies just know to get out of the way… ’cause at any moment…
…some heartbroken woman might run out into the street.”
While in New York, she befriended veteran music photographer Perry Julien, who was intrigued by Rachele and shot portraits of her at The Chelsea Hotel, that sacred place of rock lore. Her session with Julien was one of the haunt’s final photo shoots before it closed its doors to guests. Rachele’s images from The Chelsea Hotel—once home to Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith & The Sex Pistols—have been featured in SXSE photomag, Creative Loafing, and art galleries up and down the East Coast. She and Julien’s collaborations were also published in Julien’s book Secrets (2013), and forthcoming Chelsea Hotel photo book Guests. Rachele is a photographer herself, her work having appeared in Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Creative Loafing and Stereogum.
Her LP, Diamond Street (out Sept 2 via Angrygal Records) features Rachele’s alluring songwriting chops, as well as a cast of Atlanta-based heavy hitters including Lightnin’ Ray Jackson (Washed Out, Gringo Star), Spencer Pope (Ocha La Rocha), Spencer Garn (Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics) and Snowden’s Chandler Rentz. Diamond Street represents the gorgeous clash of Rachele’s folk-centric upbringing and her beat rock & roll adventures in New York City. With five years of stories under her belt, she has created a moody musical pulp, resounding with smoky memories of ambling city nights.
Rachele’s music is currently on AAA formats, satellite and college radio,, appealing to a varied audience with Rachele’s folk-alternative musings. Dubbed “sublime,” by SPIN Magazine, Rachele and her acoustic guitar have shared the stage with the likes of rockers and folkies alike, such as Shawn Mullins, Lydia Loveless, Melissa Ferrick, &Lisa Loeb.
- When: Thursday, June 9th
- Time: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
- Location: Belmont Abbey College Island
- Cost: Free and open to the public
- Weather: This event will proceed rain or shine