Photo: Maarten Deboer

Sara Watkins – “Move Me” (Singles Going Steady)

"Move Me" is a melodically ambitious roots-folk stomper that injects a singer-songwriter moodiness into the straightforward vigor of '60s rock 'n' roll.

Pryor Stroud: When handled correctly, heartache is one of the most powerful tools in a singer’s arsenal. It can sear words — char, torque, and brutalize them until they are just ground-up streaks of sorrow and sound — or purify them, turn them into vocalized bursts of unalloyed honesty and emotional directness. On “Move Me”, Sara Watkins opts for the former. “I want you to move me / I want you move me,” Watkins pleads, and each word she enunciates feels like a shred of her heart ripped out, held between her palms, and thrust forward in an attempt to grab her lover’s attention. On the whole, the track is a melodically ambitious roots-folk stomper that injects a singer-songwriter moodiness into the straightforward vigor of ’60s rock ‘n’ roll. [6/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Melding country, blues rock, garage rock, and a hint of gospel as well, “Move Me” could have been a powerhouse of a track. Watkins’ vocals are good, but the best part about her singing is that it retains just a hint of the rawness that makes whatever she’s saying feel more down-to-earth. The instrumentation is slow-paced, with an emphasized downstroke strum on the main guitar riff and the drums filling out the moments where the guitar isn’t playing. It could have been a bit more lively and Watkins’ vocal melodies are a bit rudimentary, but “Move Me” is still a decent country rock song, even if it isn’t nearly as enjoyable as the music of the Avett Brothers or Alabama Shakes. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: As a song, this has a classic feel, like something from Harry Nilsson’s unreleased vaults, and Watkins has a great, earthy shout that brings the song extra oomph. It’s loud and potent, and the instrumentation has an organic, earthy component. Pleading electric guitar leads and stomping drums are all over this. Pristine, unpretentious power pop. [8/10]

Jonathan Frahm: After hearing her for years as, primarily, a bluegrass musician, this first real jump into Sara’s solo work for me comes across as a bit of a surprise with all of the sweeping, electric instrumentation. With that said, though, she’s showing that she knows how to work out. I’m guessing that the video is some sort of commentary on generally being fed up with remaining stagnant, all to the point that even that ham, which wasn’t doing anything to anyone, felt the wrath. A bit of an oddball clip, but definitely memorable, and I dig the song that’s coming along with it quite a bit. [7/10]

Chad Miller: Starting off with a light opening and gaining weight until Watkin’s intense performance at the soaring chorus, “Move Me” is an exciting number from start to finish. Watkin’s chooses some pretty interesting lines to describe her boredom and apathy too, really stressing her desire for more. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.80