For Ft. Collins-based singer-songwriter Sarah Slaton, her new single “Get Up” and the accompanying video (see below) aims to speak to the heart of what so many people went through during the wild ride that was 2020. The loneliness and isolation has brought out a lot of tough emotions in people, and for Slaton it was important to get something out that reflected her own journey. “It’s kind of my time stamp on where I am right now,” Slaton tells BandWagon, “but I hope the song is universal enough to belong to other people and help them get through.”
“Get Up” is a sullen yet light-hearted tune, the sleek production and well-crafted song writing of which is like a warm breath on a cold morning. A departure from her work with her previous band Edison (who toured relentlessly, opening for the likes of Iron & Wine, Shakey Graves and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats to name a few), Slaton saw this song as a product of where she stood along her life’s path. “I really wanted to release it because … I felt like it needed to be out in the world. I didn’t want to sit on this song for six months like it needed to be part of an album. It needed to happen now,’ says Slaton.
Recorded at The Blasting Room in Ft. Collins with Chris Beeble, the song shines in the choice of instrumentation and overall vibe. Not over-produced, yet full of texture, “Get Up” is Slaton finding a comfortable, yet welcomed new space as a songwriter.
Along with the song, Slaton dropped a music video produced and directed by longtime collaborators Kind Dub. Using some incredible drone footage over Horsetooth Reservoir in Ft. Collins, Slaton states her inspiration for the video as finding light in the dark. “
“A lot of it was true to life; just being down with everything happening. This summer, Sarah Joelle, my partner, was so good about reminding me to stay positive and keep going,” says Slaton.
During the Edison years, when Slaton wasn’t on tour, she made a living working in production for events like X Games and Colorado’s vibrant summer festival scene. The outbreak of Covid brought that all to an end, and like so many others in the industry, Slaton was unemployed.
Deeply concerned by the lack of support for independent venues and musicians from the government, Slaton has become a vocal advocate for the Save Our Stages Act, federal legislation aimed at bringing funding to the independent entertainment industry.
“When the pandemic first hit, they definitely gave enough corporate bailouts to where they’re not getting any pressure from big lobbyists. Right now you have (Senator) Amy Klobashar championing the Save Our Stages Act, of which Chris Zacher from Levitt Pavilion (in Denver) is a co-chair. All they’re asking for is some extra funding for these independently owned businesses which were the first to close, and will be the last to reopen,” says Slaton. To add her voice to the fight, Slaton’s music video for “Time To Go” pushes awareness of Save Our Stages.
On December 20, 2020, congressional leaders finally agreed to a stimulus package incorporating the Save Our Stages Act, though the fight to revive live music is not over. Slaton has teamed up with The Armory Denver to produce a documentary about the effect of the pandemic on the Colorado music industry, called When the Music Stops, set to premiere in February.
Yet despite the chaos, Slaton has been able to find one production gig. “I’m joining a bunch of other folks from the music industry who have been laid-off from their normal jobs. We are part of a Covid rapid-response team that’s going to small cities to build testing infrastructure and testing sites.” Because let’s be honest, if you need to build a mobile facility meant to deal with a lot of people, call are the music festival people. “We get shit done quickly,” Slaton says.
Musically – and when she’s not a part of a badass, Covid rapid-response team made up of a music festival production crew – Slaton is looking forward, ever hopeful. She has plans to release an EP in 2021, to lead the decades-running HipChicksOut event, is a featured artist on a track by the Denver based outfit OHNOKAHN, and wants to find even more new ways to connect with people.
“For 2021 I’m hoping to do more ‘safe shows.’ I’ve been really turned by the ones we were able to do last summer that were very small in attendance, outside and spread apart. There was this community build that was able to happen, verses always chasing that ‘big club show’,” says Slaton. “Next summer, people [will be] dealing with a lot of mental health issues. Being locked inside, being isolated and disconnected. I want to provide a space that’s not just a show and curate experiences that are more meaningful.”