There is one last chance to sit with Sarah Darling around her virtual camp fire. It's been a useful exercise, deconstructing songs to the barest elements and sprinkling a little Darling magic dust on them. These have all been songs that for one reason or another have been special to Sarah and that love has clearly come through with the care and attention taken for each release. Taking these songs back to how they were originally created can also do you no harm as a songwriter.
For this final visit we are saluting Stevie Nicks with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” “Sweet Surrender” by Sarah McLachlan, and “One of Us,” originally performed by Joan Osborne in the 1990's.
"Dreams" is an undoubted classic, a ubiquitous choice among among Americana artists, and always destined to get a warm reception. Sarah has chosen to play it mainly on acoustic guitar with little flourishes added from an extra guitar and some backing vocals unobtrusively filling out the sound. For the first verse she almost seems to channel her inner Stevie before reverting to a more familiar vocal for the rest of the track singing with such beautiful clarity that I think I've been mishearing the lyrics for years!!
"Sweet Surrender" is perhaps the edgier of the 3 songs and the most radical reinterpretation of the three, opening to a simple strummed acoustic guitar punctuated by some wailing electric guitar. It is a somewhat different side to Sarah than we've seen previous although of course there is no escaping her divine delivery.
Joan Osborne's "One Of Us" was inescapable on its release and it is the perfect song to close out the sessions for it deals with experiencing something that totally changes your view of the world, a feeling we've surely all had over the last 18 months. Now Eric Bazilian who wrote the track did say that this could be something like an alien encounter, or a near death experience but Sarah's version is leaning less towards ET. With an acoustic guitar and a subtly played electric one this is delivered with an angelic vocal.
With the Campfire Sessions now coming to a close it will soon be time to hear the new material that Sarah has been working on over the last year or so and with collaborators like Emily Shackleton the results could be very special. Lucky citizens of Nashville will get to find out very soon with a live show at The Basement East, the rest of us will have to wait until October.