Sarah Darling – Dream Country – Album Review

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Sarah Darling isn’t exactly a new name to the Country Music world, in fact she has been on the scene for quite a while now. Having previously released two albums, both on Black River records, Sarah has built a large fan base and is respected and praised amongst the Country Music industry, one of whom being Brad Paisley who was her mentor on the tv show Rising Star. Despite being eliminated on the fourth week, Brad invited Sarah to perform with him at The Grand Ole Opry, giving Sarah an even larger fan base and further exposure to the industry.

Sarah also owns a patisserie where she most famously makes Macarons. Yum! I am yet to try them. This business venture was influenced by her love for Paris, France. You can check out her patisserie here: https://www.sweetdarlingpatisserie.com

Since Sarah’s last album, she parted ways with Black River and has released her current album Dream Country via independent label Be Darling Records.

The rather fitting title Dream Country is a spell binding and stunningly captivating album that has the ability to transport you into a dream-like world with it’s hypnotic and ambient theme. The album has a cool, calm vibe which is therapeutic and relaxing. I found myself closing my eyes and clearing my mind free of anything other than the music I was listening to. Dream Country is atmospheric in it’s gentle, chilling, whispy, warm yet breezy feel to it. It is the kind of album you would like to listen to by a wood burning fire with a hot chocolate and a blanket. The album is a blend of traditional country and folk with a shot of Americana.

Sarah’s voice is enchanting with her sweet-sounding, charming tone. Her voice and music pull in elements of some of my favourite artists such as Mazzy Star, Michelle Branch, Mindy Smith, Joana Serrat and Alison Krauss. There is even a slight hint of Folk star Kate Rusby in there. What I like about her voice, although I only have this album to go by, is that it is no way forced and it’s not over the top. It’s almost perfect in its simplicity, proving that a voice doesn’t always have to be powerful or loud to be beautiful.

The album is gripping from the first track Wandering Star which reminds me of Madonna’s album Ray Of Light mixed with a bit of Michelle Branch. The rest of the album follows perfectly with every track being wonderful, emotive and well written both lyrically and sonically. Each song stands out on it’s own so I think picking a favourite track or two will change every time I listen to it.

Where Cowboys Ride – so far, this is a favourite of mine. It has such a irresistible melody and a really wonderful traditional country instrumental segment to it. A dream-like song like a lot of the album is. Sarah’s voice on this song is breathtaking and very engaging.

Anchor – a more folk type song, quite similar to Kate Rusby. A simple yet sweet song which is powerful in its simplicity.

The single Halley’s Comet is notable for it’s charismatic, infectious melody and inspirational lyrics. There isn’t a song like this out there anymore. It is such an adorable song and I love love love the piano intro. This is one of the best songs that I have heard in a long time and we are treated with two versions of this song on the album.

Starry Eyes – I absolutely love the chorus to this song. It has a bit of Fleetwood Mac to it. It’s a very catchy song which really shows Sarah’s vocal ability in a strong way. The whole song is actually very strong.

Montemarte is another favourite, it has a cinematic feel to it, by that I mean the song is picturesque. I can imagine a scene in a movie set in a Dark, quiet Jazz bar with Sarah on stage singing this song. It has a strong Jazzy vibe with a small element of Elvis Costello. The alluring orchestral piece to the song is almost seductive and bewitching and just simply stunning.

You Take Me All The Way is another Jazz infused track and more so than Montemarte. This song is thoroughly enjoyable. The Jazz instrumentation to this song is perfection and again is a song you cannot help but picture in a Jazz club.

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There are no bad tracks on this album and Sarah even makes the cover songs her own.

Tell That Devil – Originally by Jill Andrews and used as the theme tune for the tv show Wynonna Earp as well as being featured on tv show Nashville sung by the character Juliette Barnes. Sarah gives us a more haunting version which still contains some of the songs original sass. This stripped back version is much less aggressive than the other two versions but I love all three of them for different reasons.

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want – a beautiful rendition of an already wonderfully melancholic, dark, somber song. This cover of The Smiths song is almost unrecognisable and in a good way. You would certainly have to know the original to realise this isn’t one of Sarah’s own songs as it easily could be. A song that is usually quite down and morose as many Smiths/Morrisey songs are, Sarah’s version gives the song a little bit more life and soul. Do not mistake that for my not liking the original because I do. The words that I used to describe Morrisey are of course some of the many aspects that make him the phenomenal artist that he is but this is about Sarah. This song really suits a female voice and this version overall is delightfully chilling and gorgeous.

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Stargazer is a hauntingly beautiful song with a slight night- time echo to it making it almost like a lullaby. It has a spine-tingling, chilling melody which kind of makes you feel like you are drifting and yes, It makes me want to go star gazing.

Overall, Dream Country is an elegant, compelling, dazzling and mesmerisingly quaint album which deserves recognition and should be championed worldwide.

Sarah will be over in the UK as part of C2C Festival and I cannot wait to see her set. Sarah, please also bring me some of your Macarons.

She will also be back in May and June so make sure you catch a show. Details here; https://www.sarahdarling.com/tour-dates-2/

You can purchase Dream Country on cd or vinyl here; http://sarahdarling.richardsandsouthern.com

Or download here; Dream Country by Sarah Darling
https://itun.es/gb/0LFFgb

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