Country artist Sarah Darling dishes about her upcoming album, Dream Country, and gives an exclusive look at the new music video for “Where Cowboys Ride.”
Sarah Darling recently released Dream Country, a skillfully produced album that explores several genres while remaining true to country music. We recently caught up with the singer-songwriter to ask what inspired her new record, what her writing and recording process was like, and what makes this album special.
Cowboys & Indians: What’s most exciting about releasing Dream Country?
Sarah Darling: I’m most excited about how true to me the album is. I think my fans will really get to know me through Dream Country. It’s very much my heart and soul, and that is so satisfying.
C&I: This album really displays your talents as a Nashville songwriter. What was the songwriting and producing process like?
Darling: Songwriting is such an important aspect for me. I started writing for Dream Country two years ago. I really wanted people to go on a journey when they listened to my songs. My favorite example on the record is “Where Cowboys Ride.” I call it my love letter to Wyoming. When you hear the opening line of the song, you are immediately taken to the golden fields and wide-open skies. While I was recording it, I wanted the sound to match what I was singing about. There’s lots of space in music, which lets you escape somewhere else. I had the time of my life recording all of the tracks, and I experimented quite a bit.
C&I: Where did you draw inspiration from for the record?
Darline: I draw a lot of inspiration from the stars. It’s really an album for the dreamer. A lot of the tracks are quite personal letters to myself and not giving up on the passion that I love. I grew up in the wide-open spaces of Iowa and used to dream about making music — and, fast-forward, a lot of life has happened. It’s amazing how my music has gone back to my roots. The stars have always brought me great comfort and make you feel like you are part of something grand.
C&I: You explore a lot of different genres on this album. In songs like “Montmartre” and “You Take Me All the Way,” there seems to be a jazz influence. What other genres did you explore?
Darling: Yes, I totally experimented. I think there’s a little folk and pop at times, but that’s the fun of making a record: You get to try things you’ve never done before. I really had this vision of lots of strings on Dream Country. Cello has always been an instrument that I’m emotionally attached to, but I had never recorded much with it. Now I’m hooked forever.
I admit that “Montmartre” is one of my favorite tracks I’ve ever written. It feels like I’m in a movie when I sing it! I love anything cinematic-feeling and classic. All of the tracks were handpicked because they meant something to me. I think there is something to having that full creative control, because you stretch as an artist.
C&I: I love your renditions of “Tell That Devil” and The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want,” especially the classical elements added to “Please, Please, Please.” What made you want to feature those songs? And what influenced your version of that much-covered Smiths tune?
Darling: I had heard “Please, Please, Please” on the radio while I was visiting the U.K. and was blown away by the lyrics. It just felt like everything I wanted to say and how I was feeling, especially being in the music business with all its ups and downs. It’s for everyone who’s ever wanted something so much. I made it very fragile-feeling, which is exactly how I felt when I heard it.
C&I: Do you have a song that you’re most proud of on Dream Country?
Darling: “Halley’s Comet” is such a sweet ray of light. I love this track and could sing it forever. I wrote it after I had parted ways with a label and had no idea what was next on the map. It reminds you that we all have a place to shine, even if we don’t see it. I’m proud of how honest it is.
C&I: Are there tracks that didn’t make the cut? If so, can we expect them to be released in some form down the line?
Darling: Yes, so many other songs that I almost cut. Trust me, I would have done them all if I could have a 30-song album! There’s one called “Fair Weather” and “More Issues Than Vogue” that are gems! I’ll save these for next time. I’m always thinking about the next project.
Check out Darling's new music video for her single "Where Cowboys Ride."