Sarah Martin’s “Those Days”

“There are days / Where the light is bright / But the sun ain’t shining your way / There are days / When it hurts to lose / It’s up to you / To push on through / Those days” explains Sarah Martin in the chorus of her new single “Those Days,” her words echoing a sentiment of honest vulnerability that will serve as a key theme in her new release. While Martin’s vocal and the tonality it brings to the table would be reason enough to check out anything bearing her moniker, her most recent studio work explores depth within her songwriting that hasn’t been as evident in her scene lately, let alone in the bulk of indie country coming out right now.   

In reality, the lyrics are only telling us part of the story in “Those Days,” and rather than the harmony framing the narrative in this instance, there’s a case to be made that it’s conveying as much emotionality as any given verse does. Martin is going out of her way to make the cadence of her delivery uneven with the fluidity of the percussion in the backdrop, but rather than this producing unnecessary chaos, it’s an agent of evocation that alludes to an exposed sensibility in her poetry that I want to hear more of in the future.   

While instrumentally simple and to the point, this track fits in with a greater trend I’ve been following in Nashville that features singer/songwriters like Martin stepping away from the excesses their forerunners’ sound was steeped in. “Those Days” feels removed from indulgence, with the melodic charm that our singer emits from behind the mic creating a reaction that is separate from what listeners would potentially experience when focusing on other elements here.  

To me, none of the passion in this single feels even remotely faked, and I would cite the carefully-shaped tonal presence of Martin’s vocal as evidence of as much. You can’t rehearse the kind of energy she’s putting into “Those Days” no matter how repetitious a player you are; it’s a natural-born talent that she’s cultivating before our very ears in this performance. It can be a delicate process, but even considering the lofty ambitions she demonstrates as a songwriter, I don’t find her to be jumping the gun creatively at all.   

I came into this review relatively new to Sarah Martin’s output before getting my virgin taste of “Those Days,” but now that I know the kind of talent she’s working with in the recording studio, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of her music in the future – and I’d recommend you consider doing the same. 2023 is going to be filled with a lot of new sounds, many of which will fall on the experimental end of the spectrum more than they will anything familiar to the past, but if you’re looking for a bit of steady-handed country music that doesn’t sound recycled from another artist on top of the game, this is a singer/songwriter you need to be following.   

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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