It was late June in 2007.
My college buddies and I decided to go to Country Jam in Eau Claire. It was much to my urging. I was the country music fan and the others simply liked hanging out with friends and enjoying a good show. Plus, Bon Jovi was the headliner of the weekend and everybody was on a slightly elevated high for the performance.
While Bon Jovi certainly delivered a great show they could never live up to the high expectations the crowd put on them. The 75 minute show seemed too short. Before anybody knew what was going on they were back on their jet and out of the state on the way to bigger arenas.
No, the biggest surprise of that year’s show, perhaps because of unknown expectations, was Sarah Buxton.
Sarah Buxton, Hello Country Music Fans
It was early in the afternoon on the Saturday of the country festival I believe. I can’t remember exactly. The first performer of the day was unknown to probably 95% of the people in the crowd. I was familiar with Sarah Buxton, though. I watched CMT just about every morning before heading off to work and knew that Sarah was a new artist on the scene. Her video for the single Innocence was still getting some play on occasion. The single was peaking just outside the top 30 on the charts.
In other avenues, Sarah was getting some attention as well. A song she had written, Stupid Boy, was becoming one of the biggest singles of 2007 for Keith Urban. The song was a departure for Urban. It was different. It was dark. There was pain in the lyrics and the vocals. Keith had pulled off a difficult song that wasn’t meant for a male’s voice. He had been able to turn the song into one about a guy while still keeping the original intent of the lyrics. I still love the track today.
Sarah appeared on stage. She was upbeat and excited. She let the crowd know early that this was really the first time she had been on tour. There appeared to be no plan for the show. Other artists seem to have a finely tuned schedule, but Sarah was kind of winging it.
The crowd appeared surprised when she told the story of Stupid Boy and sang her own version. The people that had been walking around the field stopped and took notice. The singer with the soft, but distinct voice was capturing the attention of everyone.
People loved the show. Even my friend that normally doesn’t enjoy country music that much commented on the artist. I thought that was a sign that Sarah was on her way to the top in country music. She was different. She had talent. It seemed like the perfect recipe.
Things Don’t Work Out to Plan
Sarah released a few more singles and an EP on Lyric Street over the next couple years. Finally, in 2009, her single Outside My Window was released and entered the top 25 on the charts. Two years after the show in Eau Claire it appeared that Sarah was on her way. Her debut album was released in 2010 and things were off and running.
But then Lyric Street, also home to Josh Gracin, Rascal Flatts, and SheDaisy, shuttered its doors. The Disney owned label was closing for lack of real success compared to the other companies owned by Disney.
Sarah was a little out of luck, but things still seemed to have an upside.
Keith Urban recorded another one of her co-writes with Put You In A Song. The track reached #2 on the charts and became a huge hit. Sarah was back in the game as a songwriter.
That same year she paired up with Jedd Hughes to form the duo Buxton Hughes. The duo played many shows, but never really caught on. From what I can tell they are still together looking for success as a team.
Let It Rain
In early 2011 I noticed that David Nail was coming out with a new track. The song, Let It Rain, was a great song. I listened to it over and over. I wore this track out on my speakers. I could not get enough. It was so catchy and so good. I still listen the song over a year later. It’s an all time great country song.
I’m not sure if many noticed, but I noticed that Sarah Buxton was singing on the background vocals on the track. It’s David’s song, but that extra little edge in the background is the distinct voice of Sarah Buxton. It adds a new depth to the song. It’s the kind of detail that really makes a song special.
Let It Rain became one of the biggest hits of 2011.
Now it’s 2012 and I’m not sure where Sarah will turn up next. She’s been kicking around on the fringes of success in country music for more than five years now. The title of her first EP, Almost My Record, seems to fit the theme of her entire career.
Someone needs to take another chance on Sarah. She is unique. She is talented. There have to be more great songs in her and she belongs on country radio.
I don’t think Sarah’s entire story has been told yet. By some measures she’s been a huge success.
But I think there is more she has to offer the country music world.