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Fresh country for county fair

Up-and-coming country star Sarah Darling will sing her hits at the fair: “I love Northern California, so I’m really excited to come and play.”
Up-and-coming country star Sarah Darling will sing her hits at the fair: “I love Northern California, so I’m really excited to come and play.” Photo courtesy of Sara Kauss Photography
Sarah Darling to perform Friday night, Aug. 2, on the Onion Stage at the Del Norte fair

Hearing a song titled “Little Umbrellas” may conjure up images of palm trees, sand and ocean breezes. Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” may even come to mind.

But the artist behind the song grew up hundreds of miles away from the ocean.

Sarah Darling, an Iowa farm girl turned Nashville country music star, will sing her latest hit at the Del Norte County Fair next week. Even though she’s visited Northern California before, Darling said this will be her first visit to Crescent City.

“I love Northern California, so I’m really excited to come and play because it’s so beautiful,” she said. “For some reason my biggest fan base is actually the West Coast. I think it’s just the music that I write and sing — people respond to it really, really well.”

She will perform on the fairgrounds’ Onion Stage at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2. There is no charge to attend after paying for fair admission.

Texaco Country Showdown winners Crissy Perry and Jr. Jones will open for Sarah at 5:10 p.m.

Darling, whose influences include Kenny Chesney and Buffett, said “Little Umbrellas” is a song about a break-up. But unlike most break-up songs, this one is lighthearted and speaks more of girl get-togethers, she said.

The beach vibe “Little Umbrellas” conjures is something Darling has grown to appreciate.

“I was landlocked my entire life,” she said. “There’s something calming and wonderful about being by the ocean. I always feel amazing when I’m by the beach. It’s a soothing and peaceful way to really unwind when you can look at something so beautiful.”

Darling grew up in Mitchellville, Iowa, just outside Des Moines, spending her earnings from a waitressing job at an Italian restaurant to start her career. She is also known for the romantic song “Home to Me,” which was downloaded more than 125,000 times, according to her website. Darling also sings a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” which appears on the album “Let Us In: Nashville,” which raised funds for breast cancer research.

Darling has also been featured on “Conan,” Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” program and ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Her voice has also been featured in advertising for Crock-Pot, Viva paper towels and Durango Boots. She has also just wrapped up a tour with “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery.

Darling said she will be performing in other communities in Oregon and Wyoming on this tour. 

Despite still being fairly new to country music, Darling said the last few years have been exciting. Her earlier single, “Home to Me,” and her newest release, “Little Umbrellas,” have sold extremely well.

“Those two songs have jump-started my career,” she said. “People say it takes 10 years to be an overnight success in Nashville. That’s probably true — there’s a lot of hard work that’s put into it.”

Reach Jessica Cejnar at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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