Sarah McMillan. Wife to John Mark. Soon mother to Jude Williams. Master potter. Musician.
Ever since I started listening to Sarah’s music, I’ve found myself referring to her inadvertantly as “Sarah Mark McMillan,” but her music is nothing like her husband’s. Where John Mark’s music hearkens back to 90s alternative rock, Sarah’s goes a little further back… more toward the 1890s than the 1990s. Drawing on folk, roots, and country, with some bluegrass twang thrown in, Sarah’s songs put you solidly in a slightly modernized Pentecostal camp meeting from the early 20th century. It’s equal parts Enter the Worship Circle and O Brother Where Art Thou?
I gotta admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for folk and old-school country music, and Sarah fills that soft spot well. I’m listening to her album Under Your Bright Wings now and, yeah, she is so country. She may be even too country to throw into the alt-country category. Doug Burr’s alt-country. William Elliott Whitmore’s alt-country. Sarah is country. Country like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr, and all those other guys you just love because their music catches something about America, God, and life that resonates with your soul.
Lyrically, she’s a little more straightforward than her husband and a little more obviously worship-centered, but still she does a great job of steering clear of the standard worship terms and phrases. Sure there are a few in there, but they’re not so predominant as some of the pop worship songs of today.
How about some personal history? On her website, she writes:
Sarah McMillan grew up in Vidalia GA, a rural southern town famous for sweet onions. Her passion for worship and the arts swelled in the late 90’s while touring North and South America with performance companies like Ben and Robin Pasley’s “Enter the Worship Circle”.
Relocating to North Carolina in 2000, Sarah planned to study and develop her skills as a potter. At the same time she developed relationships with singers of the area and became heavily involved in the flourishing community of worshipers and artists. Before long, she began to write and sing her own unique variety of sweet, rootsy material. Sarah McMillan’s folky compositions are intimate, anthemic, accessible and always sincere.
Hope you like these two samples, and now go buy the rest of the album. Check out her awesome pottery too while you’re at it:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week