She’s one of the finest acts from regional Victoria; a recording artist, teacher, mother, director and an all around kick-ass woman. For over 25 years, Sarah Carroll has made herself known in the music industry, performing with The Junes and The Cartridge Family, as well as supporting high-profile artists like Mic Conway, Neil Murray and Jackie Marshall.
Now, the self professed ‘Ukulele Queen of the Bellarine’ is marking her career by fronting her own band; Sarah Carroll and the Left Wing. Their debut album, Star Parade, will launch its national tour of the same name early next month. A collaborative effort with some of the most important people in her life.
The album, which was a year in the making, is a collection of songs that Carroll has worked on for over five years, before she handed the reigns to long time friend and one of her “favourite instrumentalists,” Leigh Ivan.
“I said to him, I want to turn this into the best thing it possibly can be,” explains Carroll. “I’ve had a lot of input, but he’s had ideas I never would have thought of.”
The album, described as progressive country, is a blend of modern and traditional sounds that hail from Carroll’s musical influences in bluegrass, honky tonk and more.
“We didn’t consciously stick to one sound on the record, but it’s definitely cohesive. The mixture is of somewhat traditional instrumentation mixed with more modern melodic and lyric ideas.”
Feeling this work is more honest than ever, “I had the balls basically to go, these are the things that matter to me,” Carroll was reassured by Ivan in her work and the producer “has been a huge positive force” on her music.
But it was working with her son on the album that Carroll said was a “huge gift from God or whoever.”
“It was the easiest, most fantastic experience I’ve ever had,” gushes Carroll, after she jokes on how diabolical it could have been.
Musical talent clearly runs through the gene pool, with her son George Wilson playing in the successful garage rock band, Tiny Giants.
“We put down 14 tracks in a week, which is an epic amount of work and we did that really because George was able to do it. If it hadn’t of been for him, it would have taken twice as long and wouldn’t have been as good… He was able to put down amazing, assured, convincing, creative bass parts on every song.”
The Left Wing will be performing at this years Port Fairy Folk Festival, a special one as Carroll explains. “This is a particularly important festival,” she explains because “I have been performing at Port Fairy for over 20 years, but this is the first time it will be my name up on the marquee.”
To be included at Port Fairy is very prestigious and as Carroll says “I’m very nervous about it, but I’m also feeling really positive and excited for it. It’s the jewel and crown of this launch tour and I just hope it goes really well.”
If her past career is anything to go by, it definitely will.
When and Where: Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, March 3 | Port Fairy Folk Festival, March 10-13 | more dates at www.sarahcarrollstarparade.com
Written by Caitlin Haddad