Any Sarah Darling fan will know that going to one of her concerts will never disappoint. Couple her stunning vocals with the atmospheric setting of St Pancras Old Church, throw in some classic Christmas tunes for good measure and then you’ve got a real festive treat.
Opening with the universally known and covered, Santa Baby, it was clear that this woman can make any song sound fantastic. By starting with a slower song, Sarah had the opportunity to joke about how cold the venue was on an early December evening. She laughed, reminiscing on her own home state, Iowa, where the “doors froze” each winter morning.
Review by Bryony Jewell
The Christmas spirit continued with a performance of White Christmas. Here it was the six piece bands time to shine. In particular a stunning violin solo which took your breath away. When Sarah joined back in the smooth tone to her voice only became stronger against the beautiful setting of the Church.
However it wasn’t all Christmas songs on this magical evening. We were treated to new single Shimmer Like Gold which had more of a pop influence than her previous music but emphasised her delightful, sultry sound.
There was also songs from Darling’s most recent release- Dream Country – which she was clearly grateful for the UK having “embraced” and over 1 million streams on Spotify. Halley’s Comet, which features on the 2017 album, was described as being written “on one of the hardest days of my life” and the performance was clearly an emotional one for Sarah Darling.
The title track of Christmas album was of course, Winter Wonderland. Introducing the number as “tropical meets Christmas” Sarah had everyone laughing when she declared “I want to make snow angels to it!”. Towards the end of this stunning number the musicians quietened leaving the unmissable vocals to take centre stage.
Perhaps the most magical, and certainly memorable moments of the night, was during the performance of Joni Mitchell’s timeless River. Described as the song that “changed me” the entire song had the audience enthralled- a truly ethereal moment.
Wasted, which was first written 10 years ago, showed Sarah’s more traditional country sound. Telling the audience that although an older song, she “started playing it differently” recently after being inspired by a family member. When the bass came in the song transitioned into something even more powerful which left you hanging on the heartbreaking, cleverly arranged lyrics “you can’t hold your whiskey and hold me too”.
The love song of the night was another track from Dream Country, Montmartre. Written about her husband and containing a spectacular violin solo, the magic of music was certainly in the room during this one.
Sarah Darling admits to being inspired by spaces, the charm emitted by St Pancras Old Church seemed to seep into the music, making everything more touching and more Christmassy. The final song of the night was perhaps the most iconic festive song of all time; Silent Night.
The low murmur of the audience singing along created a room filled with community Christmas spirit. Leaving us with a very beautiful moment, Sarah left her microphone for the last few lines and showed just why she really is one of the clearest, strongest and most unique voices in country music.
Sarah returns in March for a show at the historic Union Chapel purchase tickets here
Purchase Winter Wonderland by Sarah Darling here