Sarah Siskind’s days of playing piano in the food court at Hanes Mall are far in the rear view, but she hasn’t forgotten her hometown. In fact, she also brought her family for a visit.
Really, Siskind’s Saturday night performance at Hanesbrands Theatre couldn’t have come at a better time, only two days after the revelation that Chigliak Records, the imprint owned by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, will be reissuing Siskind’s 2002 post-juvenile debut album Covered, a sympathetic and ambitious, if overlooked, collection of Joni Mitchell-style folk-jazz that would help her win favor with a few heavyweights. She would go on to record with Bill Frisell and have “Simple Love” recorded by Allison Krauss and nominated for a Grammy. The reissue, only the second album to receive the indie-rock idol’s imprint, is a really big deal, however.
That she had a fan in Vernon wasn’t exactly news, however.
There was a period in 2008 where Bon Iver closed out its sets with Siskind’s breathtaking ballad “Lovin’s for Fools,” a practice Siskind herself embraced at Hanesbrands, but even the Grammywinning Bon Iver had to tip its hat to the sentiment with which Siskind rendered it.
Siskind was six months pregnant when she last played North Carolina — opening for Bonnie Raitt in Durham. Her now 5-month-old daughter Ruby made a special appearance in the arms of her father, Infamous Stringdusters’ bassist Travis Book, well past her bedtime and highly displeased at the scene in which she was cast. Never mind the actual heartwrenching context of the song; it became a exquisite lullaby to baby Ruby when Siskind’s guitar dropped out and it was just her and husband Travis singing the words “You’ll never know dear/ How much I love you/ Lovin’s for fools.”