11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sarah Johns joins the growing pack of new women country artists with her 2007 debut Big Love In A Small Town, an album brimming with take-no-guff attitude (along with some softer moments). In certain ways, this record invites comparisons with Loretta Lynn’s proto-feminist anthems of the late ‘60s. “If You Could Hold Your Woman” (addressed to a boozing ex-boyfriend) and “The One In The Middle” (referring to a well-known obscene gesture) are put-downs aimed at misbehaving males, served up with twang-heavy guitars and countrified rhythms. Tracks like the pain-wracked “That’s Just Me Getting Over You” define Johns as an independent female surviving heartache and forging ahead. Big Love In A Small Town takes care to flesh out Sarah’s portrait with less confrontational songs, celebrating successful relationships in the title track and capturing the thrill of a crush in “He Hates Me.” She gets into a honky-tonk mode in “A Lot To Let Go Of” and strikes a spiritual note in “Muddy Water.” If this engaging first effort owes a debt to Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert’s recent releases, there’s still enough individuality here to make Johns an artist to watch.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sarah Johns joins the growing pack of new women country artists with her 2007 debut Big Love In A Small Town, an album brimming with take-no-guff attitude (along with some softer moments). In certain ways, this record invites comparisons with Loretta Lynn’s proto-feminist anthems of the late ‘60s. “If You Could Hold Your Woman” (addressed to a boozing ex-boyfriend) and “The One In The Middle” (referring to a well-known obscene gesture) are put-downs aimed at misbehaving males, served up with twang-heavy guitars and countrified rhythms. Tracks like the pain-wracked “That’s Just Me Getting Over You” define Johns as an independent female surviving heartache and forging ahead. Big Love In A Small Town takes care to flesh out Sarah’s portrait with less confrontational songs, celebrating successful relationships in the title track and capturing the thrill of a crush in “He Hates Me.” She gets into a honky-tonk mode in “A Lot To Let Go Of” and strikes a spiritual note in “Muddy Water.” If this engaging first effort owes a debt to Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert’s recent releases, there’s still enough individuality here to make Johns an artist to watch.

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About Sarah Johns

Sarah Johns grew up in Pollard, KY, and spent much of her youth singing in her church choir. Forbidden by her parents to listen to secular music, Johns began sneaking home Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette cassettes, which later helped inform her songwriting. After her church soundman encouraged her, she began performing shows outside of the church, recorded a demo, and shopped it around Nashville to no avail. While Johns was attending the University of Kentucky, she performed regularly at a local restaurant, which led to a chance meeting with Toby Keith's manager, who advised her to move to Nashville. Within a month she followed up on his advice, quit school, and moved to Nashville, where she secured a job cleaning tour buses. After a year and change, she was offered the chance to tour with Keith, performing two songs with his band as a guest performer. She gained great attention on that tour with her song "The One in the Middle," and as a result was signed to Sony's BNA subsidiary, which released her debut album, Big Love in a Small Town, in August of 2007. ~ Gregory McIntosh

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