LIVE REVIEW: Sarah Darling @ Roundhouse London Songwriters Circle

Last night (Friday, June 28th) US country music sensation Sarah Darling brought her divine vocals to London for the intimate Songwriters Circle hosted by British singer/songwriter Riva Taylor and American songwriter Jeff Cohen at the Roundhouse venue alongside songwriters Jim Duguid, Sacha Skarbek and resident artist Celine Love.

Bringing a little of Nashville to London, Darling performed a stunning rendition of new ‘Wonderland‘ track ‘Timelapse’ for her first “circle” song. Speaking about how the ballad came to be, the Iowa native said it was inspired by her feeling like she was “missing birthday parties, and [her] English husband” while she was recording the record across Britain last summer.

The breathtaking track is all about how life passes by so fast, and how you sometimes forget to enjoy the moment. It’s a major standout on the ‘Wonderland’ LP and last night in the intimate Sackler Space, Sarah left the sold-out auditorium spellbound with her enchanting dream-like vocals.

For her second track, Sarah performed ‘More Issues Than Vogue’. This is as of yet an unreleased track about her self confessed addiction to shoes and make-up, something that she indulges while in London. The upbeat song shifted the Songwriters Circle on to new territory and gave opportunity for the audience to sing-a-long to the catchy “oh, oh, oh” pre-chorus. Darling always enchants the audience with her soaring vocals, but it was nice to see her giving some new fans the chance to see another side to the pop-tinged tracks she also has in her arsenal.

Fan favorite ‘Montmartre’ from previous album ‘Dream Country‘ came after a short interval, and her magical vocals and heartfelt storytelling about her love of Paris and love story with her British husband was truly beautiful. Hearing the stories behind how the songs came to life is always a truly wonderful part of the Songwriters Circle and something the UK definitely needs more of.

Sarah Darling closed out her set with her “saddest song” she’s ever written, ‘Wasted’. This is a song about alcohol addiction and the singer gave an insight into the song’s story explaining that she’s had it in her back catalogue for around 10 years but until last year never performed it as it felt “too close”.

This track is a very personal one to me and holds a special place in my heart. It has allowed me to open about issues in my own life and to have Sarah dedicate it to me once again last night was truly beautiful.

Sarah Darling is an artist who is able to entrance an audience with her sublime vocals and poignant songwriting and last night she transported the London crowd to Wonderland thanks to her truly magical music. It was also amazing to celebrate the success of the ‘Wonderland’ record after it went to number 1 last week on the UK Offical Country Album Chart, her first ever number 1.

I also have to give a major shout-out to Jeff Cohen and Riva Taylor for organising such a wonderful event and to Sacha Skarbek and Jim Diguid for laying their souls bare as they opened up about personal issues, their musical journeys, and success stories. It was also a delight to hear the soulful voice of rising talent Celine Love. Fans were also treated to a performance of ‘I Wasn’t Expecting That’ from surprise guest Jamie Lawson.

It is always a delight to see Sarah Darling live and last night she cemented her place as a true US export as she becomes an official Brit. She is definitely becoming one of us, what with her English lilted accent and having a number 1 on our charts. She will also be making her terrestrial UK TV premiere soon on BBC 1 for Sunday Morning Live.

This was my 10th time seeing Sarah live over the course of three years and she just keeps getting better and better. Last night she won herself, even more, UK fans as she becomes a household name within the ever-growing British country music market.


Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces. Portfolio: Twitter: @cherylssoldier1 Instagram: @musicandtournews Email: [email protected]

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