Two well known country singers take to television for big break

Emily west Emily west

Emily West / Sarah Darling

It always seems a little strange to me to see someone whose name I'm already aware of heading to a television show to compete. It's not that it's a bad thing and I don't fault them for trying whatever it takes to make it, it just seems an unusual way to go once you've already had some success in Nashville. 

This week two singers that I've previously covered here on NashvilleGab are giving two different competitions a whirl.

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Sarah Darling Calls Opening for Alan Jackson “Beyond Amazing” (from the mailbag)

Sarah alanSarah Darling
(left) with Alan Jackson prior to openingSaturday night's show in Salt Lake
City, Utah.

As a waitress at Nashville's Stoney River Steakhouse® prior to landing her first record deal, Sarah Darling waited on country superstar Alan Jackson, dreaming what it might be like if she could one day share the stage with him. This past weekend, she celebrated that milestone, opening back-to-back shows for Jackson in Boise, Idaho, Salt Lake City, Utah and Arlington, Wash. (August 9, 10, and 11). Calling the experience "beyond amazing" on Twitter, Darling adds, "I was blessed to have been on tour with one of the most humble and gracious men in the music business this weekend. What an unforgettable experience. Thank you Alan!"

This Saturday, Darling will make her forty-first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry prior to performing as part of Southern Living's "Biscuits & Jam" concert series presented by AT&T U-verse at The Woods at Fontanel on Sunday. Then she'll head to New York City for the national television debut of her latest summertime hit "Little Umbrellas" on FOX & Friends Saturday, August 24. 

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Sarah Darling’s “Little Umbrellas” gets a dance remix (from the mailbag)

Sarah Darling - Little Umbrellas iTunes Artwork

Remix version of country
music's "Soundtrack to Summer 2013" now available on iTunes and other digital retail
stores

Country music recording artist Sarah Darling has teamed up with DJ and Remix Producer, DJ DU to add an electronic dance flavor to her catchy, summertime single " Little Umbrellas," pegged the "Soundtrack to Summer 2013" by music industry execs. The hypnotic dance club version marks DJ DU's first commercial remix release and is NOW AVAILABLE nationwide on iTunes and other digital retail stores. Preview here.

On the new track, Darling kept her signature vocals true to the original, while DJ DU meshed electronica, pop and rock notes over an accelerated techno beat to create a remix version of "Little Umbrellas." The pair is confident the song will keep dance floors rockin' all summer long. "It is a summer anthem made for lovers of all types of music," DJ DU says. "Ladies will relate to it and there's no doubt guys can even use a 'little umbrella' in their drink every once in awhile."

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Exclusive: Sarah Darling talks touring with Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood influence and new single “Little Umbrellas”

Photo 4, WhiteSarah Darling, like many females before her, possesses a larger-than-life voice to counterbalance her small stature.

Despite parting ways with Black River Entertainment earlier this year, she heads into this new chapter with a fresh perspective and "Little Umbrellas," her new breezy single that is unlike most summer-themed anthems. You can read my full review of the track (and listen to a live version) here.

Nashville Gab recently chatted with Darling about the inspiration behind the song, as well as her tour earlier this year with Scotty McCreery and her Carrie Underwood influence.

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Sarah Darling ‘Home To Me EP’ Review

Sarah darling

Sarah Darling has been on the map for a few years but
according to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source I know) the single ‘Home
To Me’ has been her first entry on the chart. It seemed fitting, then, that I
take this opportunity to introduce myself to her music through her brand new EP
of the same name.

‘Home To Me’, the lead off single and title track of the EP,
is a country/pop love song using that well-known tactic of country ‘buzzwords’
to get on country radio and find a way in to the romantic metaphorical lyrics
14-year-old girls post on Tumblr. This time these ‘buzzwords’ are the names of
states, comparing certain aspects of the narrator’s lover to these states, I
guess creating various symbolisms and connecting to fans living in those
states. Yet, to Sarah, her lover feels like ‘home’ to her, and maybe she’s
saying each of these states are home to her because they’re all part of the
South. Either way, it doesn’t convince me that this is a country song.
Musically we have a banjo underlying throughout the whole song and a vague
steel guitar, as if this is another injection of country to what is frankly, a
rather pop-sounding song, totally reminiscent of both the pop and country
charts in the early noughties. The non-gender-specific harmonies are taken straight
from this period too, in addition to your typical soft electric guitar and drum
unit, maracas guiding the verses. That’s not to say I don’t like the song, it
reminds me of the music I loved when I was 14, and it will be hugely popular
with that demographic. Vocally she reminds me a little of Kellie Pickler and
generally it’s a sweet, nice song that is gentle on the ears and accompanies a
sunny day quite satisfyingly, the chorused blues-ish guitar solo adding a
slightly-out-of-place element to the song. However, it doesn’t kick me out of
bed or make me sit up and listen.

I’m hopeful that the second track on the EP, ‘How Dare You’,
will round out the image a bit and show me more to a singer who appears to
finally be coming over the horizon this year. To be perfectly honest it feels a
bit like more of the same. A classic singer/songwriter style pop song with
banjos added, lyrics about being helpless in love, as you can probably imagine
from the title. It’s well-sung, but a bit cliché, and the weird pop-style
echoes on the title lyric don’t sit all too well for me. Having said that, I
feel a bit harsh being negative about it, because it’s one of the least
offensive songs I have ever listened to. It’s simply pleasant and teenage girls
will lap it up.

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