Sarah Pirkle has been part of the local music scene for years. She performs regularly with her husband, Jeff Barbra, and as a member of the Maid Rite String Band and the Naughty Knots, and she's appeared on several records by other artists. So it's sort of a surprise that her new solo album, due out in July, is her first.
"Some of the songs have been written as long as five years ago," Pirkle says. "But we've been recording it since October."
Pirkle describes Walking Tall Through High Weeds ("That's different from Walking High Through Tall Weeds," she says) as "lots of roots music. There's one straight-up bluegrass gospel song, one straight-up rocker—it's got drums on it, and there have never been drums on anything I've recorded."
Most of the songs are originals, but the disc also includes a Ray Price song, a traditional gospel song, and a song written by Pirkle's neighbor. The sessions were recorded at Music Row Studio in Maryville with help from an impressive lineup of local and Nashville musicians—Barbra, drummer Eric Keeble, bassist Robert Richards, singers Griffin and Molly Cavender, guitarist Terry Phillips, mandolin player Roscoe Morgan, steel guitarist Brock Henderson, Lloyd Maines (whose daughter is Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks), and John Pennell. She even got Hammond organ and pedal steel parts from Steve LeBlanc, a session player from Los Angeles who contributed by e-mail.
Walking Tall Through High Weeds will be available July 9. Pirkle says she's arranging a couple of CD release shows, but neither has been finalized. The CD is available for pre-order at Pirkle's website. A PayPal order will get your name listed in the album credits.