Sarah King Releases LP 'When It All Goes Down'

The album is out now!

By: Apr. 02, 2024
Sarah King Releases LP 'When It All Goes Down'
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Award-winning singer-songwriter-guitarist Sarah King makes her long-awaited full-length solo debut with When It All Goes Down, exploring life's seismic shifts via her own singular strain of Gothic Americana. Produced, engineered, and arranged by David Baron (The Lumineers, Noah Kahan, Meghan Trainor), the album sees King weaving classic rock ‘n' roll, Southern soul, true country, and primal folk-blues into something inspiring and cathartic, deeply personal yet wholly universal. Fired by King's spellbinding, seen-it-all vocals and rock solid rhythm guitar, songs like “The Longest Night” and the empowering, anthemic title track are haunting, oft-times harrowing, tales of impossible guilt and inconsolable grief, of raising hell (and the repercussions that follow), of how to stand face to face with the Devil himself yet somehow emerge bigger, better, and badder than before. LISTEN HERE.

Currently residing in the Green Mountains of Vermont, in a tiny log cabin without cell reception, Sarah King has walked many a hard road to reach When It All Goes Down. New England born and raised, King spent her early twenties down South, playing in a GA-based rock ‘n' roll band and generally “growing up, a.k.a. becoming an adult.” She eventually moved back north but found herself at a crossroads, slightly burnt out but driven by an evolving passion for front porch folk and traditional blues, hard times music as real and true now as it was nearly a century ago.

“All of a sudden, my life began to imitate art,” King says. “My dog died and my first husband died and my mom died. Just like that. That's a lot. But our society doesn't really teach us anything about grief and how to manage it. So I was like, Well, I am just going to pretend that I'm not grieving. I'm just not going to talk about it. And I'm not going to play music or write music because that would mean I have to get in my feelings.”

Thankfully, King eventually sought help through group therapy and grief counseling, personal work that allowed her to process the pain and trauma brewing inside.

“I was able to sit with my feelings instead of running away from them,” King says. “Music became a safe space for me to deal with all of those feelings. It was okay for me to write songs that were darker and more introspective. I started to dig deeper into even more painful topics, things that maybe had not necessarily happened to me, but things I knew about and saw in the world.”

New songs began to fill her notebooks, songs of sorrow and vulnerability, equally informed by the dark romanticism of her beloved favorite authors Edgar Allan Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as the mysterious, evocative, power of early blues, foundational music in which one not only confronts demons, both self-inflicted and unforeseen, but survives them. Her songwriting quickly grew in strength and candor, ultimately attracting the attention of Simone Felice and David Baron, who invited her to record with them at Baron's Sun Mountain Studio in Boiceville, NY. King made her striking debut with 2021's The Hour EP, earning her recognition as “Songwriter of the Year” from the New England Music Awards. Like any blues musician worth her salt, she honed her songs – and increasing prowess as a guitarist – on stage as often as possible, including club performances, festival appearances, and shows alongside Blues Traveler, The Steel Woods, and Anders Osborne, to name only a few.

King returned to Sun Mountain Studio for summer sessions in 2022 and 2023, joined in studio by in-demand drummer Jeff Lipstein (Mercury Rev, David Johansen, Jane Siberry) along with remote accompaniment from bassist Johnny Stanton (The Steel Woods), and Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist Josh Cournoyer. Baron – who played keyboards in addition to his other duties – expertly adds texture and filigree without overburdening King's elemental ballads and finely etched character studies. His intuitive and organic production instead focuses in on the emotional timbre and the sheer physicality of songs like “You Were Wrong About Me” and the slow-burning “Stronger Than You'll Ever Know” (featuring pedal steel guitar by Nova Scotia-born, Nashville-based musician Asa Brosius). Shot through with subtle swing and heavy horsepower, a current of white-knuckle tension roils just beneath the surface, with King deftly navigating the hidden spaces between darkness and the light.

“We live in the gray areas,” says King. “It's okay for me to be both light and dark at the same time, I can be heavy and at the same time, optimistic. My music can be very dark but I am still a warm, loving person. I can be who I really am and embrace both sides. I don't have to choose.”

Indeed, King steers both brooding ballads and rousing rockers through a briar patch of challenging subject matter, chronicling in painstaking detail a lifetime of bad decisions and what might have beens, many of which were fueled in part by her own complex relationship with ol' demon alcohol. Though the outlaw symphony of “Blame It On The Booze” and stark piano-driven “Whiskey Thinking” convey a lifetime of late nights in barrooms and saloons, King has taken a healthier path in recent months.

“Last winter, I started to get really serious about my overall health and fitness after some medical issues,” says King. “I went from two drinks a day down to maybe two drinks a week. Now it's probably more like two drinks a month. It's good. So even though bourbon and I may not be BFFs right now, we were for many years, and I can very easily get back to those feelings of where I was when I wrote those songs. And I know that when I was in those feelings, that's when I needed those songs.”

King opted to compliment her original songs with a pair of very personal covers, including a blistering rendition of Led Zeppelin's “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do,” the first song King taught herself by ear when first learning to play guitar.

“I chose to keep the original pronouns as a nod to my own queerness,” King says. “I am married to a man, but I've dated some wonderful women, and we've all had situations where we loved someone who didn't love us back the way we wanted.”

Having danced on the edge of the abyss throughout the album, King finally goes all the way to the netherworld with her deep, swampy take on “Devil's Try,” written by her friend Scott Hawkins during his time as an active duty Special Forces soldier.

“Scotty and my first husband served together,” King says, “and I'd always loved that song when he played it with his metal band years ago. I asked if I could ‘Sarah King it up' and he enthusiastically gave his permission. While it's an acknowledgment of the hard times we all face, it stands up to those hard times with strength, so it's both a nod to some of my personal history and the perfect closer for this album.”

A captivating and engaging live performer, King is keen to bring her cathartic blues to life on stage both as a solo artist and bandleader. Rich with rare integrity, earnest emotion, and a restless energy born of extraordinary experience, When It All Goes Down captures an acutely authentic artist exploring her spirit and songcraft in an effort to reach a place that's both true and transcendent not only in herself, but in all those who also call upon the power of music in their time of need.

“My stories are folk stories,” says Sarah King. “Of the people, for the people, by the people (I'm a person). These are songs for folks who've lived through some s and want some music that doesn't shy away from that.”



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