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Talking Bands

by Evan James Ceretti

Sara Austin (photo: Evan James Ceretti)You might recognize Sara Austin’s catchy number, “I’d Like To,” from Hop Yard’s vinyl compilation The Taproom Anthology, which features 11 other local artists and bands. 

Sara had been recording with Colin Buchanan at The Hill Sound Studios when he was asked if he could suggest any great artists for the compilation, and he said Sara Austin.

Sara is relatively new to the Island music scene, having only moved to PEI two years ago this September, but she has quickly started gaining fans as her soothing, haunting vocal melodies flawlessly flow into new ears.  

Her connection to music started almost before she can remember. “There are videos of me playing the piano and drums and little flutes when I was a baby.” Her father was also musical, and there were always instruments around the house. “Some of my earliest memories are listening to him.”

Throughout her childhood, adolescence, and as a young adult, Sara continued to play music. “My teachers never really liked me.” Sara knew how to read music, but she would rather watch her teachers play and learn by ear and add her own little trills. Come Grade 8, she was jamming out in an all-girl band.

By trade, Sara is an artist—ceramist, painter—and music is a developing part-time gig. However, writing has always been a big part of her life. “I’m writing songs all the time and have for the past 10 years. “It's just in the last 2 or 3 years that I’ve really been focusing more on doing live gigs.”

The lyrics to and inspirations for Sara’s songs are mostly about her personal experiences. “It can get kind of dreamy. I do take from dreamscapes and friends’ experiences. I’m definitely inspired by things that are happening around me, and stuff that I take in when I’m out and about. And certainly, from personal experience, joy and tragedy.” Of course, some songs are about relationships too, Sara joked. “There’s nothing like a big break up to get the creative juices flowing.”

Sara’s brother passed away a few years ago, which was a life-changing experience that spawned a lot of songs - an outpouring of words and melodies, she said. “He was extremely musical.” Sara uses much of his equipment when she records and plays live, most notably his electric guitar. “I feel it’s a big connector. It’s something that keeps him alive. There’s always a little hint [of him being there].”

When Sara plays live, she almost always performs solo with her electric guitar. She also plays drums, and piano, which she hopes to someday incorporate into her live set. Over the next year, she plans on releasing a couple of singles and then looking into releasing an album on vinyl after that. 

Sara writes in many different styles, she said. The song recorded with Buchanan is pop-heavy, but if you were to go to a live show, expect more of a county meets folk meets jazz sound. “It’s a real blend. It’s a little darker. It’s more vocal heavy, and the content is on the more somber side.”

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