"River (Acoustic)" Featured on Noisetrade's New & Notable!

Sarah Duet

River (Acoustic)

"The ever-emotive sound and deeply thoughtful lyrics we’ve come to expect of Sarah Duet’s music are as present as ever in her new single, “River (Acoustic),” which is available now exclusively through NoiseTrade. “River” was born of personal reflection on current events woven together with wisdom from many of the world’s great spiritual traditions on the essential sacredness of water. All tips will go to support the Standing Rock Sioux resistance efforts."

Genre: Singer/Songwriter : Acoustic


A song I recently wrote & recorded––“River (Acoustic)”––was chosen by Noisetrade.com as one of their New & Notable features! The song was promoted in one of their email campaigns Wednesday morning and the album will be featured on their homepage all week. I’m amazed that as of Wednesday afternoon, it was the 5th most downloaded album on the site! I’m really grateful that the song is making it into more ears than it ever would have otherwise.

You can grab it for free, but 100% of the proceeds from any tips I receive will go to support resistance efforts at Standing Rock. I'd love to send them as much as we can.

If you’re one of the many who have downloaded it already, thanks so much! I hope it’s meaningful for you in some way.

The Mercy Tapes (EP)...available now!

I released a new EP this week! You can download "The Mercy Tapes" by using the buttons below:

Album art, Watercolor by Britney Winn Lee

Album art, Watercolor by Britney Winn Lee

In compiling a larger group of songs, I realized a pattern forming in this small handful that carry themes of mercy & making. So I got to thinking about how the songs might fit together and then got to work. What you hear in this project is the product of that process.

In Hebrew, the word for mercy is actually the same word as womb with different vowel points. In light of that, I’ve heard mercy defined as “womb-like mother love” or the willingness and capacity to give oneself over entirely for the sake of another. I’ve found that any encounter with mercy seems to be generative of some creative act–either it making something of the stuff of our experience or moving us to make in response to it (or more often some combination of the two). This connection in mercy’s etymology to the word womb seems to characterize that nurturing, creative aspect of it that I’ve intuited. And that’s exciting to me.

An acoustic performance of "Have Mercy," track #2 on The Mercy Tapes... (Video by Luke Lee)

So these songs explore what mercy makes of us, what it makes of time, and how it can restore what we have made of things when we haven't done the best job. And they are something(s) I've made in response to encounters with great mercy.

As for the title, "The Mercy Tapes"... it is a riff off an author whose work I read gratefully. Dr. Brene Brown talks about the "shame tapes" that play in our heads that say things like "You'll never be good enough," or on an occasion in which we might start to believe we could be, "Who do you think you are?!" I'm well acquainted with these tapes, as it seems many of us are. The shame that speaks these lies isolates us. Shame erodes our humanity & sense of worth; it breaks us apart when we're meant to do this together. Another way I've heard mercy defined is a "generous connectedness to the other." My hope is that rather than those all-too-familiar, all-too-divisive shame tapes we might have different words on repeat in our minds–words that remind us who we are and that we belong to each other and that move us to connect generously. Maybe those words would more appropriately be called "mercy tapes.” I don’t claim that the words found in these songs would function as those tapes for all of us, but they are words that I have pieced together in my journey from shame to mercy, from hidden to known, and from alone to together. And I hope they can be valuable to you in yours.

So, “may mercy make much of us as only mercy can"...time and time again,

-sd.

P.s. Lyrics and credits can be viewed below. (A PDF download of these files is included with your Noisetrade download...)

GUIDEPOSTS...new single available now!

The words of "Guideposts" have been what I've needed to hear & what I've needed to sing in this season. They help me hope. They help me be fully present, here & now. They help me be grateful, and they help me stay brave. I so hope that they might do something like that for you...

Also available on iTunes!

Also available on iTunes!

Everything you hear on "Guideposts" was played by me on my gear in my apartment. This is the first time I've made a totally solo recording...playing my own electric guitar, piano, percussion, mixing the tracks myself, doing my own watercolors for the album art, etc. While I 100% look forward to collaborating with my supremely talented friends in the near future, I felt it was important for this particular song to experiment and just see what I could come up with. This is a "guidepost" I'm putting up to "make note the way [I] take," if you will.

Thanks for listening. It means more than you could know...

sd.

My new single "Guideposts" is now available for you, for free online!

I certainly hope "Guideposts" will encourage you as it has me. I wrote the first draft of these lyrics years ago for a record that (sadly) didn't get finished. So the song got shelved. I originally wrote it for 2 friends who were going through tough seasons, but who I knew had so much life in them if they'd only let that come to the surface. However, when I stumbled across these lyrics in an old journal more recently, I was floored by how now they spoke so directly to me personally. It was like I'd been given a gift years ago that I thought certainly was for someone else, only to find later––in a very timely fashion––that it was indeed meant for me too. So, grateful, I crafted the old lyrics around a new melody, and what you hear today is that retuned version.

Lyrics

Lyrics

light.bread.name.life.

About a year ago I was burrowed in the studio (aka my bedroom at the time) working on this project called "light.bread.name.life." I haven't shared its story in depth on the blog yet, and it came to mind recently as there is some early-stages conversation taking place about potentially expanding the project. 

The concept/vision came from Matt Rawle (pastor at The Well UMC), my friend and collaborator. He was working on a teaching/sermon series based on some of the "I Am" statements that Jesus made as recorded in John's gospel. He wanted to incorporate short films set to original instrumental music that expressed the ideas, themes, emotions, etc. that would be highlighted in the teaching each week. The statements chosen for the month-long series were as follows:

  • I Am the light of the world.
  • I Am the bread of life.
  • I Am the good shepherd.
  • I Am the resurrection and the life.
An example of the print/screen designs that accompanied the music, videos, and teachings. See more in my  portfolio .

An example of the print/screen designs that accompanied the music, videos, and teachings. See more in my portfolio.

My task? To converse with Matt on the content of each teaching, study and internalize the theology, then express it artistically in a way that would complement the teachings and be digestible for congregation members each week. I ended up making pieces in various mediums that work together to accomplish that goal.

  • Short ambient song recordings (Listen or download with player above)
  • Videos set to the ambient music as their "scores" (see below)
  • Graphic art designs for print and screen display each week

LIGHT "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (JOHN 8:12)

These sounds and images illustrate the most mysterious aspects of Jesus. The ever-present yet illusive light that simultaneously illuminates everything and blinds our human eyes.

BREAD "I am the bread of life." (JOHN 6:48)

These sounds and images act as reminders of the sacred nature of the mundane...the life that is providentially sustained in the most common, ordinary but necessary elements of our days.

NAME "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen for his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (JOHN 10:3,11)

*choreography and dance performance by Anna Kirkes

The music and performance of this piece are essentially a prequel to the scripture referenced above. That tense, almost frenzied search for the one who knows you, is calling to you, and makes a home to share with you...the search for your true and identity and its Source.

LIFE "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die...'" (JOHN 11:25)

Specifically, this is a sonic telling of the story of Lazarus, and generally it is a resurrection narrative. Visually the elements of abstract and concrete from the previous videos are combined. It starts slow and builds to a breaking point followed by silence that represents a death. Then the music and film bursts back to life and represents resurrection. The music ends with the same 3 swells with which it began, illustrating that we must be brought back to life again and again and again.


I learned so much during the course of this project. It became clear where I was on the learning curve for all of the media I worked in. Those limitations in skill that I encountered challenged me to focus on smaller corners of the larger concepts than I intended to, and to develop those with close attention. It is much simpler and more modest than maybe we originally dreamed up, but I hope still compelling, centering, and beautiful in some way. Special thanks to Matt Rawle, Anna Kirkes, and Grant Merritt for their assistance on this project.

I look forward to doing more work similar to this in the future!

Thanks, as always, for reading...

sd.