Saturday, 23 June 2018

LIVE REVIEW: Sarah Darling + Releases new single ‘Diamonds’ & playing UK Summer Festivals


Release Date: June 15th 2018
Impact date: July 20th 2018


“The Darling of country music” – Metro

Click here for Live Review: Sarah Darling at The Basement, York (Mon 19 March 2018)

Celebrating the announcement of 5 UK Festival dates this summer, including British Summer Time at London’s Hyde Park on July 15th, country singer-songwriter Sarah Darling released her new single ‘Diamonds’ on Friday June 15th. The single is her second released in 2018, following the soul-stirring single ‘Wasted’ this March.

Time and pressure, gives you diamonds. Listen here:

Release Date: 15 Jun. 2018

Label: Be Darling Records

Copyright: ℗© 2018 Be Darling Records

Total Length: 3:12

Genres: Country/ Pop

As with ‘Wasted’, the new single was inspired by real life events and has deeply personal significance for Sarah. Through her masterful storytelling ‘Diamonds’ holds a tone of relatability for the listener… as Sarah puts it, “the song is a reminder that life is a journey with a lot of ups and downs. It’s the struggles that bring out the beauty. I’ve been to the bottom and literally had to pull myself back up, and I’m grateful for the whole adventure, not just the fun glittery parts. I think of how many wonderful things just need a little time and patience.”

Sarah’s musical output in 2018 has been pushing her beyond the realms of country, and further developing her sound. With pop sensibilities and clear-cut hooks creeping into the mix, fans have been delighted that Sarah has managed not to lose the cordial nature of her lyric writing, and the gravitas of her stories have not lost their weight.

Enlisting some of music’s brightest minds for this release, ‘Diamonds’ was recorded at state of the art Starstruck Studios in Nashville. The single was written with Jessica Sharman (songwriter for Ward Thomas), produced by Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban) with additional mixing from Ash Howe (1D, Dido, Ellie Goulding)and mastered by Nigel Walton (Biffy Clyro, Bloc Party, Richard Ashcroft).

“She’s broken free of the box and is running towards the horizon as fast as possible” – Maverick

Stateside Sarah has played the CMA Festival in Nashville, toured with stadium fillers Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Vince Gill and Tim McGraw, and performed at the Grand Ole Opry more than 80 times. In the UK, as well as her own headline concerts, Sarah has toured with her signature ‘Night in Nashville’ shows, opened for the chart-topping Ward Thomas and performed at the C2C: Country to Country festival in 2016 and 2017.

Related Post Feb 2018: Sarah Darling teases new single ‘Wasted’ ahead of UK & Ireland Tour

Sarah plays select UK dates and festivals this Summer:

Sunday June 24, 2018 - Black Deer Festival, Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells

Playing live at the Black Deer Festival Fri 22 June 2018
Sunday 15 July 2018 - Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park Paul Simon + Very Special Guests James Taylor & His All-Star Band, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Tom Chaplin, Ward Thomas, Shawn Colvin, Callaghan, Night Flight, Sarah Darling, Jesca Hoop, Blueprint Blue & more to be announced Ticketmaster UK |  Event

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 - Sage Gateshead, Gateshead SummerTyne Americana Festival Sage One 7:30 PM with Sam Palladio and Striking Matches

Monday 23 July 2018 - St George's, Bristol (Great George Street (off Park Street) BS1 5RR) with Sam Palladio, Wandering Hearts and Striking Matches £23.25 Event

Sunday 26 August 2018 - Cottingham Folk Festival, Cottingham (The Civic Hall, Market Green, HU16 5QG) opening for Ward Thomas £35.62 Event

First headlining tour
Mon 5 March 2018 - Union Chapel Union, London (Compton Terrace N1 2UN) with Katie Pruitt 
Sat 10 March 2018 - Unitarian Church, Brighton (New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UF) with Kiol 
Sunday 11 March 2018 - C2C Country To Country Festival, London 13:10 Town Square
Mon 12 March 2018 - Oran Mor, Glasgow (Byres Road, G12 8QX) with Emma Stevens
Tues 13 March 2018 - The Sage, Gateshead (Sage Two (St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, NE8 2J) with Kiol
Thurs 15 March 2018 - The Waterfront, Norwich (139-141 King Street Norwich NR1 1QH) with Kiol Lisa Redford £14
Sat 17 March 2018 - Unitarian Church, Cambridge (Emmanuel Road CB1 1JW) £15.40 
Mon 19 March 2018 - Basement, York (The Basement, City Screen, 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL) with Kiol 
Tues 20 March 2018 - Night & Day, Manchester (26 Oldham Street M1 1JN) with Emma Stevens 
Thurs 22 March 2018 - Empire Music Hall, Belfast (42 Botanic Ave, Belfast, BT7 1FQ)
Fri 23 March 2018 - Grand Social, The Loft, Dublin (35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1)
Sunday 25 March 2018 - Studio 2, Liverpool (Parr Street, L14JJ) £15.40 Event
Tues 27 March 2018 - The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol (Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR) with Emma Stevens

CONNECT with Sarah Darling:
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LIVE REVIEW: Sarah Darling Live at The Basement, York (Mon 19 March 2018)

ABOUT THE VENUE: Basement, York (The Basement, City Screen, 13-17 Coney Street, YO1 9QL) Facebook | Twitter
The Basement is a 100-capacity events venue situated below City Screen Picture house cinema, right in the heart of York city centre. The venue has hosted an eclectic mix of events including live music, poetry, comedy, drama and DJ nights since March 2000. Its low ceiling and side on layout make the venue incredibly intimate, with the audience rarely more than a couple of metres away from the acts. Although not exactly what you expect from a venue, The Basement has a character all its own.

Support: Kiol Facebook
After queuing patiently on the stairway for some time waiting for doors in order to get in and secure good seats the evening got underway some 45 minutes later than published. For a weekday gig this is something that both the headline artist and venue need to consider, or do they just assume that local people were attending? There were people who had travelled some 60 miles from different parts of Yorkshire and with a late finish, meet and greet afterwards it would be midnight returning home which isn’t ideal with work commitments the next day.

20-year old Italian singer-songwriter KIOL opened and was the fourth date on the Sarah Darling UK Tour where he had supported (others: Brighton, Gateshead & Norwich).
He said it was the first time playing in the UK and was joined by fellow guitarist Federico Puttilli for a 30-minute acoustic to a largely sold out attentive audience.
Kiol, who has played at gigs and festivals right across Europe is said to written more than 40 songs releasing his first EP “I COME AS I AM” (Warner Music Benelux | Amazon UK) back on Jan 6, 2017 and a single “Hard Things”, premiered on Clash magazine UK. dropped Nov 24, 2017 produced at the Grouse Lodge Studio in Ireland by Paolo Nutini’s producer Dani Castelar.

Kiols 7-song set included the amusing melodic “Slipping On My Tears”, the first song he ever wrote “Someone”, “Piazza Grande” sung in his native tongue encouraging a quiet but respectful audience to participate, a joyous “Broken Up Again” and whistle-along “Wrinkless” with Mumford & Son vibes. Overall it was pleasant enough but hardly breath-taking.

Sarah Darling Setlist:
21:10 - 22:35
1. You Don't Have to Be Lonely Tonight (Home to Me - EP; 29 Jan 2013)
2. Tell That Devil ("Tell that Devil" Juliette Barnes - Nashville/ Jill Andrews / Emery Dobyns / Matthew Mayfield; Nashville Cast feat: Hayden Panettiere)
3. Where Cowboys Ride (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017)
4. Starry Eyes (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017)
5. Shimmer
6. Diamonds (written with Jessica Sharman "Carry You Home")
7. Yellow (Coldplay cover)
8. Wasted (single; 2 March 2018) Chris Country new music playlist
9. More Issues Than Vogue
10. The Boy Never Stays (Brandy Clark / Sarah Darling / Josh Osborne) (Angels & Devils; 15 Feb 2011)
11. Wildflowers (Tom Petty cover)/ segued into 12. Anchor (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017) (co-written with the ABC show Nashville’s Sam Palladio)
13. Home To Me (Black River; 21 Aug 2012)
14. Angel Wings (words God & The Angels...Got My Wings)
15. Montmartre (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017)
16. Halley's Comet (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017)
Stargazer (Dream Country; 10 Feb 2017)
Little Umbellas (Single; 2013)

Dean Roberts (Acoustic/Electric guitar, backing vocals | Website) Highlights of Dean's career include playing to a 70,000 strong crowd at Leeds Party in the Park (Freefaller), opening for Bon Jovi at Twickenham on their 'Lost Highway' World Tour (Stewart Mac)
Alasdair McLachlan (Bass, backing vocals) Scottish Session Musician. London, UK. Bassist | Guitarist | Singer | Songwriter | Tutor Website
Ash Cutler (Roland RD-700SX Digital Stage Piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals). A musician and producer and part of duo called The Beautiful Secret (with Rachael Hawnt Website) and function band called Great Scott!
Chris Allan (Drums; Website | Facebook) freelance professional session drummer, playing live and recording for bands and artists from all over the world including USA, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and the UK as well as appearing on Sky One, Scuzz, Kerrang! and Radio 1.

Sarah described her UK & Irish tour as feeling like a Mary Poppins with 4 Brits and 1 Scotsman all in a van together! :)😊😅
#nowastedmoments #band — in York | Credit Facebook Photo

The lovely Sarah Darling first came to my attention with the release of her sophomore album, ANGELS & DEVILS (Feb 15, 2011), its lead-off single "Something to Do With Your Hands", the smooth and seductive “Bad Habit” and the fantastic sparse piano driven “Stop The Bleeding” which showcased the beauty of her voice.

For reasons unknown she parted ways with Black River Entertainment in 2013 possibly due to lack of chart and commercial success. Observing from this side of the pond she seemed to go off the radar. She tried her hand as a contestant on ABC's Rising Star first season in 2014 (eliminated 4th week) despite having played the Grand Ole Opry scores of times!
Then out of blue she was invited to play the Country To Country (C2C) Festival in 2016 playing on the Big Entrance Stage. Unfortunately, I only caught the very end of her set (Sorry Sarah, impossible to walk out on Phil Vassar in The Brooklyn Bowl!). Thankfully she returned for C2C2017 and I made a point of being at the same stage to catch a wonderful acoustic set where she dipped into tracks from DREAM COUNTRY, released just 4-weeks previous. It’s a favourite album from last year and for me the standout performance across the festival stages.
On the back of the success and UK acclaim she backed this up by returning with her great friend Jenn Bostic and Michael Logan to tour in an "A Night In Nashville" (In The Round) guise throughout May 2017. In July 2017 she played Bristol's Americana Weekend, opened for The Shires at the Summertyne Americana Festival in Gateshead and was called up by UK Album chart toppers Ward Thomas to join them as a support.
She released a Christmas set ‘Winter Wonderland’ (Nov 17, 2017) and then played a headline show at London’s St Pancras Old Church (Dec 8, 2017).
All this led to her first UK headline tour and a late announcement saw her return for C2C2018 playing a packed but inaccessible Town Square Stage situated outside the O2.

Hearing the soundcheck at the Basement, York I was somewhat surprised given the venues size to hear drums (thankfully a transparent drum shield was employed) and electric guitars and imagined it could be a little overpowering. On this 12-show tour, the 2017 BCMA Awards ‘International Touring Artist of the Year’ nominee (See BCMA FashionPost) was slated to perform songs from her three previous studio albums as well as previewing songs from a forthcoming album. 
What we were to hear was a full-on sound with an accomplished 4-piece band, two of whom, Alasdair McLachlan and Ash Cutler had played for Sarah in her acoustic seats at C2C.  

Looking very feminine, youthful, and cutting a beautiful figure the 35-year Des Moines, Iowa native walked onto the stage to applause and cheers wearing a lovely ivory lace dress and eye-catching above the knee suede boots.
Digging immediately into her back-catalogue Sarah and the band opened with “You Don't Have to Be Lonely Tonight” taken from her 2013 4-tracker 2013 EP HOME TO ME. Starting off slowly this terrific track built was delivered with attack to get things off to great upbeat start.
Maintaining the tempo Tell That Devil followed which those familiar with the TV Drama Nashville would recognize the Hayden Panettiere (aka Hayden Panettiere) track. The number, vastly different to the rest of her material on 2017 DREAM COUNTRY comes close but doesn’t quite match the Nashville Cast cut but is a good fit for Sarah.

Slowing things down the superb cinematic Where Cowboys Ride with its dreamy qualities has become something of her trademark sound and has proved very popular on Europe’s Keep It Country TV channel. The beautiful mid-tempo ballad Starry Eyes (a letter to herself) provides material for someone in need of a little light and keeping the faith when it’s easy to get disheartened by life’s struggles. This was a delight to hear and brought forth smiles from the audience.

Sarah Darling live at Basement, York on Mon 19 March 2018
Facebook Photo Credit: Rebecca Thompson

Brand new and unreleased song Shimmer with its Spanish-like feel is a funky workout and showcased Darlings soft vocal illuminating the room on an observational song that shines the telescope on best human qualities – You Know You Shimmer Like Gold  

The now released Diamonds, co-written with frequent Ward Thomas writer Jessica Sharman, has a lovely rise and fall about it, is lyrically beautiful and tells of crystallising your dreams and turning fear into hope -  Don’t settle for strong/ You’re worth more than you know/ But it hurts to grow. In her own words: You can’t find a rainbow without a little rain  
I think I prefer Sarah’s take on Coldplay’s Yellow (from their debut Parachutes) to the original and revealed her talent at interpreting songs in her own special way – this really worked!

Another new number Wasted’ was released just ahead of this 12 date UK & Ireland tour and was written by Sarah with country hit songwriters Josh Osborne (Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt et al) & Marc Beeson (Blake Shelton, LeAnn Rimes). It was originally penned when Sarah first moved to Nashville and she shared that it was about a family friend who was falling apart due to the devastating effects of addiction. It’s a very personal song but she felt it was now time for the world to hear it. Inspired by real life experiences this is a true country story song. It brought chills and was truly outstanding, what a powerful song!
In support of the tour it made the Chris Country Radio playlist ( and will make both fans and listeners hungry for a full album to come which may appear at the end of the year. She has returned to London on the weekend of the Royal Wedding and continues to collaborate and pen fresh material.

The light-hearted slower and tongue-in-cheek More Issues Than Vogue talks of crazy ex’s and makes fun warning a potential beau of a train wreck lifestyle. In real life Sarah is very happily married to an English man James! The song provided encouragement for the audience to join in with some Oh-O-Oh’s.

She gave a shout-out to Brandy Clark who helped her co-write the brilliant The Boy Never Stays another favourite from 2011’s ANGELS & DEVIL.

In an acoustic section Sarah seamlessly spliced a cover of Tom Petty’s Wildflowers with the delicate Anchor (co-written with the ABC show Nashville’s Sam Palladio).
With its laid back vibe she then brought out the bouncy and funky Home To Me reminding us of what a great 2012 single it was that peaked at #34 on Hot Country Songs.

The moving Angel Wings was another newbie that rocked some Celtic flavours – With God And The Angels Then I’ve Got My Wings.
She spoke of magical special times and transported us on a love affair trip to Paris on the seductive, sumptuous, and deep Montmartre – Wow! Keeping us all in that starry-eyed dream Halley's Comet simply shined.

After much applause she returned to the stage for softly Stargazer and sending fans home in a happy spirit inspired us to break out with some fun dance moves for the hip and groovy Little Umbellas . The >> video may well been a lot of people’s introduction and was well aired across Europe on Keep It Country TV.

Long queues formed for a meet and greet with some holding copies of her early albums for signing at the merch desk.
This was a great night of music and fans should make a point of catching her at her UK festival appearances this summer.

Adrian Clark (Country Routes News)

York, you were so much fun tonight!!! Ps. You might be my new favorite city. #York #Uk #tour #tourlife #soldout

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