Sara Watkins’ new video for “Say So” is certainly appropriate for someone who’s about to hit the road again in support of her latest solo album, Young In All The Wrong Ways.
The clip captures images from Watkins’ last road trek in 2016, showing the Nickel Creek stalwart and her band, including fellow singer-songwriter David Garza, on stage, on the bus and tooling around in a store. “We just wanted it to be a little bit of a day in the life on the road with the band,” Watkins — who begins the next leg of the tour on Thursday (Jan. 19) in Madison, WI — tells Billboard. “The song is largely speaking to forward motion and taking steps to move forward, so we wanted to show what that looks like at this stage in the game for us.” Watch the exclusive premiere of the video below.
The song itself, meanwhile, comes not from the road but from something closer to home for Watkins. “One of the inspirations behind the song was my observations of a friend who seemed paralyzed by habit and seemingly surrendering to some kind of destiny that my friend couldn’t see their way out of,” Watkins explains. “I think sometimes when you feel to paralyzed to move the first step is to say those words out loud. That is in itself something of an action that I think can be the inspiration to get you to actually take physical action and do the work you need to do to begin forward motion.”
Young In All The Wrong Ways is Watkins’ third solo album and came out last year. It’s her most successful to date, debuting at No. 1 on the Heatseekers chart, No. 7 on the Americana/Folk Chart and No. 10 on the Independent survey. Watkins also became the first woman to ever win the Instrumentalist of the Year category at the 2016 Americana Awards and Honors.
“I’ve had a lot of great feedback for each of the songs from audience members,” Watkins reports. “On some albums there are songs that are surprising, that end up being standouts to the audience that you didn’t expect. I haven’t had any of that with this album. There’s really been a solid response to all the songs. It feels like these songs are reaching people in a way that’s quite specific and particular to their lives, which is ideal. You want to write songs that are relatable, obviously.”
Watkins has North American tour dates booked through April 22, when she finishes in Winnipeg. She’ll be part of Jackson Browne’s band during some spring shows and is planning to play festivals during the summer. She also anticipates more work ahead, at some point, with Nickel Creek and the Watkins Family Hour band, and she promises “some new projects” during the coming year.
“I love collaborating. I love bands. I always say if you’re in one band you should be in two, because it does make all the difference,” Watkins says. “It’s great to be able to do all these things and be challenged by other people’s ideas. The fact that I can do all that knowing that I also get to say what I want to say on my albums and dig in and pursue a solo record is a real privilege. That diversity is really crucial.”