Tag Archives: musician

Sarah Darling ~ Return of the Native

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. It was billed as the concert to end all Christmas concerts, something for the history books, a point in time forever etched onto the minds of those who were there.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

When Sarah Darling stepped onto the Union Chapel stage on 2nd December 2019 no one could have predicted the joy and happiness that erupted and burst through the winter gloom that had started to grip the capital city.

‘Where Cowboys Ride’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Opening the evenings entertainment with ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ this ode to the frontiersmen of the west which has over 3 million plays on Spotify exemplified all the best of Sarah’s vocal talents. Backed by her band of brothers the song carried you away to those open skies where horses run and prairie landscapes.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

England and more specifically London has been the second home for the Iowan native who has spent so much time touring these isles that when she returns to Nashville friends believe she has an English accent. You know that Sarah has turned native when she sings about the weather, a national obsession for anyone who lives on this emerald isle.

‘Blue Sky’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah’s songs such as ‘Blue Sky’ and ‘London Fog’ dramatically conjure up all those feelings associated by being in wide open spaces with azure blue skies and the silvery dusky fog that still settles in London mornings.

Having acted as her own warm up act Sarah introduced Jamie Lawson a phenomenal singer songwriter who was the first artist to signed up to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records. Singing ‘I wasn’t expecting That’ and ‘Hallelujah’ he blew away the crowd with his passion and intensity of delivery to produce a stunning performance.

Jamie Lawson at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Hallelujah’ performed live by Jamie Lawson at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

And then as the ecstatic audience applauded Jamie for his music, Sarah came back on stage and introduced her next guest stars The Wandering Hearts.

Tara Wilcox from The Wandering Hearts at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Now this evening was beginning to look like we had been transported a million miles away to the Grand Ole Opry. Where rising stars of country perform to showcase their unique contribution to the pantheon of country legends that had stepped on stage before them.

‘The Christmas Song’ performed live by Sarah Darling with The Wandering Hearts at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Then Sarah had the audience in the palm of her hands. What delight were to come next?

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

The answer to that came in shape of new songs that Sarah had been working on in Los Angeles and the Campfire Sessions. ‘Hungover’, ‘Waves’ ‘Drive away with You’ and ‘Leave the Pieces’

‘Hungover’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Waves’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Leave the Pieces’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

After an intermission Sarah came back onstage in a new sparkly black dress which shimmered in the lights. This was not the only thing that sparkled as Sarah introduced the sister duo Ward Thomas onto the stage to sing three songs ‘Landslide’, ‘River’ and her new single also featuring Ward Thomas ‘Divide’.

‘Landslide’ performed live by Sarah Darling with Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Catherine Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
Lizzy Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Divide’ performed live by Sarah Darling with Ward Thomas at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Ward Thomas were simply divine and the harmonies that they produced with Sarah on these songs weer breathtaking. It was my first time hearing and seeing Ward Thomas perform and I am forever grateful to Sarah for this gift. Truly the evening was one musical gift after another especially with the three guest star artists that had performed this night.

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Then as this was a Christmas concert Sarah sang such Christmas hits as ‘Santa Baby’, ‘Have yourself a Merry little Christmas’, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Silent Night’. Now when Sarah sang this last song she did so unplugged and acoustically. What better venue to sing ‘Silent Night’ then at Union Chapel. The audience were silent, all were mesmerised by the pure sound coming from the angel praising the birth of Christ.

‘Have yourself a Merry little Christmas’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019
‘Silent Night’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah left the stage to rapturous applause from the audience. What an extraordinary night had been enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to attend. Would there be anything else left for Sarah to showcase?

Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

The answer came when Sarah appeared on stage again and delivered two more songs ‘Monmatre’ and Hailey’s Comet’. ‘Monmatre’ is Sarah’s love song to the city of love, Paris. It exquisitely captures the essence and magic of that eternal beacon of romance.

‘Monmatre’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

What a way to end the nights performance than with this song. A once in a lifetime natural phenomenon that lights up the universe with its fiery approach emblazoned across the night sky.

‘Halley’s Comet’ performed live by Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Video by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Sarah lit up the sky’s tonight with her whole soul. A messenger from the Heavens, a traveller from Nashville, tonight heralded the return of the native. The musician who belongs to two cities but who had captured the heart of London this night and every night.

With Sarah Darling at Union Chapel, London on 2nd December 2019. Photography by CloudwatcherUno™ ©2019

Lauren Jenkins ~ All Heart, All Country

Lauren Jenkins at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

A little bit of magic happened last night when Lauren Jenkins stepped on stage last night (September 18th 2019) at the re-branded ‘The Grace’ venue. The last date of her latest European tour Lauren showcased her stunning vocals and joie de vivre to an audience hungry to see their musical hero. In a sold out venue the magic began to sparkle in front of people’s eyes.

Lauren Jenkins opened her act with ‘Twenty Years from Now’ a song originally sung by her friend Kylie Rae Harris who tragically died in an automobile accident in New Mexico while Lauren was on tour. The two had met while in Barbados and had become fast friends (incidentally this is also where Lauren met her manager Whitney Pastorek).

Lauren Jenkins at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Lauren told the audience how she had found it difficult to grieve for her friend while touring abroad but was grateful for the support of her fans across Europe who had supported her by coming out to her gigs. At the end of the song tears flowed from Lauren as she also sung ‘You are my Sunshine’ in dedication to Kylie. The audience joined Lauren in singing this song in remembrance of her lost friend.

Lauren then brought her album ‘No Saint’ to life in front of an audience who matched her word for word on songs from ‘Maker’s Mark and You’, ‘Cadillac’, and ‘All Good Things’.

Cadillac by Lauren Jenkins at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Lauren told of how all that glitters isn’t gold in the world of country music artists. Having moved from New York to Nashville. Lauren had played at many, many gigs across the states where being the opening act meant using Porterloos as a dressing room and trying to explain to her family that she may be a country artist but that didn’t mean she was rolling in dollars. At least not yet.

Give Up The Ghost by Lauren Jenkins

Lauren also told the back story of how she had difficulties with an ex-boyfriend who had cheated on her and how that had inspired her to write the song ‘My Bar’ Working behind the bar she had thrown out the ex when he had brought the other women to the bar she was working in.

Lauren Jenkins at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Lauren freely admits that she is herself ‘No Saint’ and is only doing the best that she can on a daily basis. Sometimes she’s winning sometime she losing.

With the night coming to an end Lauren opened out to the audience as to what songs they wanted her to sing? The requests came thick and fast. Lauren sang ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac and Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ This was a consummate performance of the song by Lauren bringing a real cheer from the audience. A re-imagined take on the classic with Lauren’s smoky voice replacing Palmer’s distinctive timbre.

Then Laura produced something extra special two new songs ‘American Spirits’ and ‘It Ain’t Love Any More’. Both were phenomenal and I can see these being added to a future album and definitely on Lauren’s next tour.

‘It Ain’t love Anymore’ by Laura Jenkins at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Lauren ended the evening with ‘Running out of Road’ one of the breakout hits of her album. Audience participation at its maximum and the effect was electric. ‘All Good Things’ have to come to an end and Lauren’s journey through Europe did just that but with a celebration by the artist of her songs and the life she has lived so far.

‘Running out of Road’ by Lauren Jenkins, The Grace, London, 18th September 2019. Video: © CloudwatcherUno 2019

Lauren Jenkins gave the performance of her lifetime at parts, raw, emotional, in others full of bravado and soaring vocals. A true magician who cast a spell over this audience and gained fans old and new.

After the performance Lauren was warm, enthusiastic and genuine in her appreciation of the fans who had come to see her sing. I had waited 7 months to see Lauren sing and she didn’t disappoint. Looking forward to the seeing Lauren when she returns to the UK and seeing a true magician in action.

Lifting Lauren Jenkins off the floor at The Grace, London, 18th September 2019
Photograph: Whitney Pastorek
‘No Saint’ signed album by Laura Jenkins. I ordered this vinyl as it was the only way to hear Lauren’s voice old school and analog.