sarah jaffeI don’t make it a point to try to spot the Next Big Thing here at FMB. But sometimes the Next Big Thing just falls into my lap.

In May of this year, Kirtland Records will be releasing Suburban Nature, the debut album from Texas artist Sarah Jaffe. I recommend you mark your calendar.

The overall sound of the album is fairly familiar, the basic Lillith Fair template of female acoustic singer-songwriter. (You always need at least one in rotation, right?) The strength is in the details — an expressive voice, rich and varied instrumentation, production that’s lush without losing a live feel, and great, great songs. Over the Spring and Summer Jaffe will be opening for bands ranging from indie favorites Midlake to Starbucks favorite Norah Jones. That should give you some sense of the breadth of her appeal.

Here’s a song called “Summer Begs.”

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Bonus FMB!

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Just for kicks, here’s a song from the artist Jaffe most reminds me of: Sarah Harmer, who 10 years ago I would have told you is the Next Big Thing but who never really took off the way she should have. (According to this, she’s finally got a new album coming out in June of this year. Wo0t!) Her 2000 album You Were Here is one of my all time favorites. This song, “Open Window,” was my and my wife’s wedding song. I once pursued Harmer halfway to the women’s bathroom at a show to beg her to play it. She ended up dedicating it to “the guy in the red shirt” — that was me!