The Darkest Light is an alternative country meets southern gothic meets folk rock epic, with storytelling like no other from Syms’ well-woven lyrics and imagery.
The vocals and the music sound seasoned and mature; Syms’ voice doesn’t get lost in any of the accompaniment, it shines right through and creates a perfect balance. This album explores so many different elements and twists upon genres. This album is experimental, but Sara’s warmth and openness to be vulnerable on this album makes it cozy and familiar, even when it evokes dark themes.
All of the instruments involved understand the assignment. The horns, lead guitar, and organ all have such a delicious, smooth tone that matches Syms’ strong yet dainty vocal abilities. The songs could easily be heard on the radio, in movies, bars, coffee shops – any venue honestly. The tempos continue to switch throughout the album, along with the aesthetic of each song. Each of these songs have a different mood and feeling, but mesh well with the other tracks. Syms’ is offering her audience an insight into her mind, and sharing these ideas and experiences about the dark times that have made her stronger. All of the songs have an underlying meaning/theme/message, and it feels like sitting through a soundtrack of someone’s life.
Overall, the album is a stellar romp through a bygone era as Syms meditates on life, existence, and the self. No doubt, the production crew deserves kudos for crafting a final mix that perfectly captures that scenario of listening to old music on a dilapidated gramophone while never feeling outdated.
Authentic is the word most often used to describe Sara Syms. An artist willing to be intimate and vulnerable with her fans. Debut album Fade to Blue was nominated
for IMEA’s Americana Album of the Year and solidified her place on the scene. Sara’s sophomore release, Way Back Home, was an artistic breakthrough for thelifelong overachiever.
After battling struggles with depression/anxiety and some needed time away from the music scene, The songstress essays the duality of life: the sweet and the sour, the hard and the tender, and, of course, the emotions in the title of her homecoming release, The Darkest Light. Haunting and heartfelt, these 10 songs weave ethereal soundscapes and reflective storytelling into a deeply rooted but transcendent tale of survival, growth, and the triumph of love.
“During my industry hiatus, I began penning a cathartic collection of songs that would become my upcoming album, The Darkest Light. Though this album was helping me deep dive into my own shadow work, it had eerie parallels to the fear and anxiety the human collective was experiencing from the pandemic, political polarization and catastrophic unknowns. Where everything we thought we knew was questioned. Nowhere to run but sit with ourselves, and somehow find our way back to the light. We live in a world of dichotomies. The sweet and the sour, the tough and the tender, the dark and the light. We can’t have one without the other. And the darkest parts of us, the ones hiding in the shadows, have the most beautiful teachings to offer us, if we are willing to go there,” Syms explains about the album.
Sara is working in collaboration with the Integrative Life Center of Nashville, TN to tell the story of her journey with anxiety and depression, and her album is a reflection of some of the healing she did while spending time at ILC’s residential treatment.
Last summer (’21) I checked into residential treatment for the first time in my life. I was in an incredibly dark and scary place and it takes a lot of courage to ask for help when you need it and to face things head-on you’ve been running from for a lifetime. I clocked over 300 hours of trauma work at Integrative Life Center here in Nashville and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through, but one of the most rewarding. To look at yourself under a microscope and strip it down to nothing so you can rebuild, takes a warrior spirit,” Syms shares. “I am incredibly grateful for the time I spent at ILC. Grateful I had the resources to be able to get this sort of help that most cannot. It was such a well-rounded integrated program with a myriad of trauma healing modalities from traditional talk therapy, art, music and movement therapy, equine therapy, breathwork, meditation, nutritional support and so much more.”
To learn more about The Integrative Life Center in Nashville, TN, please visit https://integrativelifecenter.com/ for more information.