Watered Down Whiskey
“Sarah Harralson presents honest, bare-boned recordings that are authentic,” stated Music Connection Magazine after hearing her debut EP, Finally Found, in 2014. Her authenticity lies in her lyrics based on true stories followed by melodies that will be stuck in your head hours after hearing it. She is not afraid to tell it like it is in her music. This Knoxville native began writing songs when she was ten years old, her grandfather being her biggest musical influence.
“My Grandaddy was always playing bluegrass music on his accordion in his living room. He inspired me to pursue my dreams in music and told me to always keep going. He was named Knoxville’s Man of the Year in 2006 and shared the stage with Dolly Parton years ago, so he was the perfect role model.” Sarah wrote a song titled “Granddad” on her debut EP and played his accordion on the recording. He still inspires Sarah to keep writing and recording.
Sarah started songwriting at such an early age after her parents were separated and she moved with her mother from Alabama to East Tennessee. “I was such a quiet child. I was always afraid to share my emotions and feelings with others so songwriting was and still is my gateway to let my emotions out whether it’s happy or sad. I always encourage young children that are shy to try to translate their feelings into art, because the result is beautiful. I have always been the youngest in my family with a huge age gap, so I have experienced a lot that people my age have never experienced before. I think this is what sets me apart, and I am grateful for that, because it has allowed my music to mature faster and although it’s hard to deal with emotions sometimes, I want to keep experiencing things so I can write about it.”
After her grandfather passed in 2011, Sarah decided she would move to Nashville two years later to pursue music at Belmont University. A year after releasing her debut EP in 2014, she was discovered by Scotty Schultz, drummer of Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings’s son). Scotty opened up his publishing company, Raindrop Music LLC, in 2015 and after hearing Sarah’s original song “Watered Down Whiskey”, he knew he wanted to sign her right away. This would be Sarah’s first publishing deal with Scotty signing three of her songs: “Watered Down Whiskey”, “Round and Around”, and a song off her debut EP, “Never Be the Same”. Also signed under Raindrop Music is Slim Gambill (lead guitar for Lady Antebellum).
“‘Watered Down Whiskey’ is probably one of my favorite songs I have ever written. I knew it was special from the reaction I have received from it. I wrote in my apartment one night after a breakup and knew I wanted to write a song about the guy who broke up with me. I had forgotten all about my glass of whiskey on the table, and when I went to drink it, it was already watered down. Then I had the idea of relating going on dates with other guys after you’ve been broken up with as watered down.”
Sarah played the song for a group of people in Mississippi and one lady began to cry, stating that it described her divorce perfectly. Sarah knew that she had to make her own personal recording of the song, and after speaking with publisher Scotty Schultz, he decided he would produce her first full length country album of all original songs that Sarah has either written or co-written.
One of the tracks on the album will include a song called, “Radio Static” that was co-written with Johnny Garcia (lead guitar for Garth Brooks). “This song is about a relationship that sort of goes silent all of a sudden, it’s like radio static, where you wonder what happened. I accidentally was able to get in the writing room with Johnny and we wrote this song with Brian Carper and Justin Lilley and it turned out great, especially the guitar on it.”
Another one of Sarah’s favorite songs on the album is a track titled, “County Time.” Following her trip to Mississippi in 2016, she came back to Nashville with a notebook full of ideas and knew she wanted to write a driving, small town song. Shortly after, Sarah and her co-writer came up with the hook “we’re serving county time” and although it might offend some of the people in that small town, she thinks it’s too relatable not to put out.
Sarah’s country influences range from The Dixie Chicks to Brandy Clark to Jason Aldean, and she hopes it will come across on her album, Watered Down Whiskey, which features story songs including unapologetic lyrics, relationships, having fun, and also the struggles in life. Scotty Schultz of Raindrop Music, LLC stated that, “she is a driven woman who deserves to be heard,” and the stories will definitely be heard. “When people tell me I’m not good enough or I can do better, it drives me to keep pushing and pursuing my dreams. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. God gave me this talent and I plan to use it to share it with others.” Sarah is currently working with keyboard player Josh Schultz (Cole Swindell) on her album and is excited to release the single and music video for “Watered Down Whiskey” soon.
You can find Sarah in Nashville playing at local writer rounds and co-writing during the week when she’s not recording. She is a member of NSAI, CMA EDU, BMI, and also plays at hospitals once a month for Musicians On Call. Sarah hopes that her music will help people in some way across the world. She is a big believer that music heals.