Home Base: Birmingham, Alabama
What’s on her Plate: A new album due out later this year.
Best Way to Beat the Heat: “Jumping in a swimming pool with my husband and our seven children!”
Living in Mountain Brook, Alabama, is like living in Mayberry. It’s a neighborhood here in Birmingham with a true sense of community. The houses are old and beautiful, and the tree-lined streets are quintessential southern suburb. We can walk to restaurants; the kids can walk to school. It’s a little dream.
Many of my Fourth of July memories involve tears. Summer, for the last 20 years
of my life, has meant going out on the road to perform. I always bring my children, who are all absolutely terrified of fireworks, with me. I remember taking them off the bus after my concerts to watch these huge firework displays. I would be so excited, and they would scream and cry.
My mama was a farmer. She spent hard days on a tractor, bailing hay. There were seven kids in my family, so she also cooked three huge, country meals a day. She taught me about the importance of a strong work ethic. Growing up in tiny New Franklin, Missouri, I’d wake up with the sun and work until the sun went down. then I’d get up the next morning and do it all over again. My childhood wasn’t perfect, but it was a simple, pure way to grow up.
At the age of 8, I got hit by a car going 75 mph. I broke both my legs and both my arms and had to spend six weeks in the hospital. We were poor farmers with many hospital bills. I had already started performing with my two older brothers when I was 4 years old, so as soon as I could, I began performing again. we used the money we made singing to pay off my bills.
I always associate the long, warm days of summer with bluegrass. It takes me back to my childhood, because bluegrass is where my love of music started. Every time we have a party I turn on some Alison Krauss or Bill Monroe. It creates a wonderful atmosphere: a cool, southern, old-fashioned feeling.
A didn’t truly understand football in the South until I moved to Alabama. My husband, Jay Barker, won a National Championship in 1992 at the University of Alabama. People here see him as a mayor or Elvis figure. he is so loved in this community.
On my first date with my husband I couldn’t understand a word he said. We were at Puckett’s Grocery in Franklin, Tennessee. the music was loud and his accent was so thick that I had to lean in to him closely. He probably thought I wanted to kiss him, but really I just couldn’t understand him. That night, he taught me one of my favorite southern phrases: bawling crying. He said, “she was bawling crying.” and I said, “why do you have to say both? can’t it just be she was crying? or she was bawling?”
I like my barbecue sweet. Alabama is full of incredible barbecue joints, but my favorite
is Dreamland Bar-B-Que. instead of serving dinner rolls they bring you loaves of plain white sandwich bread with barbecue dipping sauce. we love, love, love Dreamland!
The Rock the South festival combines three Southern loves: country music, football, and barbecue. I’m hosting the outdoor event June 21 to 23 in Cullman, Alabama. It’s a chance to focus on what I know best. That area was “rocked” by
devastating tornadoes about two years ago on april 27, 2011, so it’s also an opportunity to
celebrate the spirit and resilience of this part of the country.
Can’t wait until Sara’s next album? Check out her video for “A Real Fine Place To Start” below!