IN THE WORDS OF FANS: 'She has a way of making someone feel like she is singing just what they are thinking. When people listen to her they are absorbed into her world because it is so pure and clear and beautiful...' 'Heartfelt vocals sung from the soul. This lady's songs are as real as she is...' ABOUT THIS RECORD: We did this quickly. Really quickly. We made the decision on a Thursday night and spent 15.25 hours the next Monday and Tuesday recording the nine songs. That was it. In the midst of life unplanned, good things can bloom. -SS ON THE TRACKS: Sara Swenson: guitar, vocal Don Chaffer: guitar, mandolin, pump organ, piano, tambourine, bells, paintbrush and fingertap-drums Grandpa: story LOCAL SINGER-SONGWRITER SARA SWENSON DEBUTS HER FIRST ALBUM September 10, 2008 by sarah benson ink Sara Swenson ... gets inspiration from all areas of her life - relationships, faith, work. And since she's a high school English teacher ... even literature creeps into her lyrics. Her song "Jimmy Valentine" was inspired by an O. Henry short story called "A Retrieved Reformation," which was about a con man. Finding inspiration in her students' homework "is kind of nerdy of me, I guess," Swenson said. If you listen to Swenson's simple, sweet and at times haunting songs, "nerdy" is the last word that comes to mind. Swenson, who started playing guitar when she was 16, never really took lessons. She wasn't a big singer, either, until about a year ago, when she got a new, better guitar. By mistake, someone at the guitar shop called her a "singer-songwriter." Instead of brushing the label off, Swenson decided to get more serious about music. She said that's when she found her voice. Writing her own songs "didn't feel like a jump at all for me," she said. "The words are just there." Her first album, which is self-titled, is a mix of acoustic, indie and folk. Swenson's smooth but strong voice feels thoroughly Midwestern. Wind chimes and quiet piano fill in the background behind Swenson's artful guitar playing. The sparse nature of the songs is a good match for Swenson's intimate, honest lyrics. In "Yesterday is Gone," Swenson sings, "I used to be quite cozy in my own skin / Now I don't know whose clothes I'm standing in." It's about letting go of the past and being restless for what the future will bring. So what will the future bring for Swenson? "That's a great question," she said. "I'm just kind of waiting to see what happens..."