Sarah Darling Gets Into Holiday Spirit With 'Merry Little' EP

Sarah Darling

Sara Kauss Photography

Saturday night will be a big night in the career of rising newcomer Sarah Darling. The singer will be bringing her Christmas show to the historic Franklin Theatre, located south of Nashville. Darling will be performing in promotion of her brand new holiday EP, "Have A Merry Little Christmas Darling." She said that the show is going to sound very much like the new project. 

"We're going to to do the show just like the album was done," she told Billboard. "We'll have a piano and a stand-up bass. It's going to be really intimate and beautiful. I've handpicked some of my favorite singers around town to join me," she said, speaking of special guests Jenn Bostic and Matthew Perryman Jones. "It's going to be a wonderful evening, and old time Franklin is really pictureesque, particularly at Christmas time, so I think it will be really sweet. I hope it snows. That would be great," she says with a smile.

Darling says recording the EP was a very humbling experience, as she got to work with one of Nashville's true musical giants. "Actually, it was inspired at the Grand Ole Opry. I actually got approached by Steve Gibson, who is a legendary guitar player in town. He said 'I've watched you play the Opry the last couple of years, and think you're great. I would love to work on a project with you."

That was all Darling needed to hear. "So we went into the studio in October, and cut four Christmas tracks. It was one of the most fun recording sessions I've done. Choosing the tracks was easy for me, because I've always loved songs like 'The Christmas Song.' and 'Silent Night.'  I also chose a song called 'River,' which is a Joni Mitchell song. It's kind of an uncommon song, but it's an emotional song for me. I remember hearing it when I was little. I always wanted lo record it so I think there's a little something for everyone on the EP."

Unlike many Christmas albums, Darling didn't have to record the album of Yuletide tunes in the heat of the summer. Rather, she recorded the project in October. "I'm glad we waited until it was a little cooler rather than record it in July," she says. "We actually just focused on it and got it knocked out in a couple of weeks, which was great. I've always wanted to record a Christmas EP. You can have it every year, and it can mark where you were at that particular time in your life."

Darling stated that working with Gibson was among the most rewarding musical experiences she has enjoyed thus far. "I had no idea that he was going to approach me about it. It was like magic when we worked together, and we're going to continue that on in the next phase of my recording career. There's something amazing about working with someone that you have this synergy with." 

The EP's release caps off a 2013 that has been varied yet very rewarding. "I look at this year, and it's been the biggest year of my life. It's been a transforming year. I've gotten to put out music that I love. Some things change. I got married this year, and losing my grandfather was very tough. But going home this year, I think I've become closer to my family. It's a beautiful circle."