Sarah Darling - Buckle and Boots 2017
Fittingly for the only artist selling sunglasses, the main bit of substantial good weather came during Sarah's set. Having been a little critical of Sarah's band at C2C it was great to report that this time round they seemed a lot more familiar with the material and of course they had time to set up properly. This was a set that was to cover a lot of bases, from the epic "Dream Country" album, via some nuggets from the back catalogue as well as some truly jaw dropping new material,
Things began in rocking style with the "I Told That Devil" , before moving on to the Brandy Clark co-write "The Boy Never Stays" as well as "Home To Me" lyrically running through American states wrapped in a classic tune. This set, in many ways was like a high jump event, as each time the bar was set seemingly impossibly high, it was then raised again with the next song.
The singing on her tribute to Wyoming, "Where Cowboys Ride" was simply exquisite, and the only way "Anchor" could have got a more rousing reception would have been with the words "Here is my co-writer - Sam Palladio". The first of a clutch of new songs came with "Wasted" previewed in the "Songwriters Round" about the perils of drinking. This song gave her a chance to fully prowl the stage with the cordless microphone. The crowd were eventually cajoled into full voice on for the great little song "More Issues Than Vogue", sometimes the simplest songs are the best and this one has hit written all over it.
Sarah and Jenn Bostic have been co-writers for a while, and recently completed an acoustic tour with Michael Logen. Part of the encores of those shows was a spellbinding almost gospel reworking of "Jolene" so it was no surprise and at the same time an absolute delight to see Jenn Bostic once again take to the main stage to reprise their performance. Jenn then stayed for our personal highlight of the whole weekend, a brand new song "I Pray For You" going out to those affected by recent incidents in London and Manchester with lines like "1000 roses lay on the ground", this was a moment to make the hairs on your arm stand up - it was something special beyond beautiful and a fitting and caring tribute.
To get the party reignited, it was time to get out the "Little Umbrellas" for the naggingly catchy single of 2015. There was another new song with "Wild For You" making its debut, while a nod back to her youth came with an excellent "Ring Of Fire" which was much appreciated by the crowd.
One final raising of the bar came with the ever insistent piano riff and exemplary singing that came with "Halley's Comet". The band were then to leave the stage to allow Sarah to play "Stargazer" solo. the sun was just beginning to set as the curtain was to come down on the main stage of Buckle and Boots 2017.