Making Her Way

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

If by Sunday afternoon you still haven’t had your fill of Rodeo excitement for this year, you might like to drive over to Borders Bookstore in Sand City for a different kind of cowboy-related entertainment.  Singer-songwriter Sarah Pierce is the daughter of a cowboy, and she is currently on tour to promote her new album “Love’s The Only Way,” which is set for general release on August 12th.

Sarah Pierce was born into a family of cattlemen in Rockford, Illinois and grew up variously in Texas and Colorado.  Her stepfather, a doctor in the small town where the family lived, played bass in a local country band at weekends.  One night, he invited his 12-year-old daughter, who had always loved singing, to come along to a show and sing a few songs.  After one song, she was hooked, and her life’s dream to be a professional singer was kindled.

Pierce eventually graduated college with a master’s degree in medical science, and took a job in Denver, CO as a physician’s assistant.  After a while, however, she began to get the feeling that she was neglecting her dream of being a performer.  She recalled, “I was missing something crucial to my existence – my music.” She decided to move to Phoenix, AZ, a place she had heard of as having a thriving music scene.  In Phoenix, she soon formed a band, and was seen performing at a local club by John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  He was so impressed that right there and then he invited her to join him as opening act on a thirteen week tour of the US. 

In 1991, Pierce released her debut CD, “West Texas Wind,” on Little Bear Records.  The following year, she decided to investigate the musical opportunities on the West Coast.  She relocated to Santa Barbara, where she formed a new band and quickly caught the attention of local agents.  In addition to performing on MTV, she was booked at appear at shows all over the United States and into Canada.  It was while on one of these tours that she played in Austin, Texas and finally found a place that she felt truly at home. 

Now based in Austin, Sarah Pierce has toured all over Europe as well as the US and Canada.  She has released three more CDs, “No Place Like Home” (1998), “The Buttercup Princess,” (2000, a collection of children’s songs) and “Birdman” (2001).  Her voice has been compared to Emmylou Harris and Shawn Colvin among others, and her music draws upon country and pop/rock influences in equal measure.  Seamlessly blending the old with the new, her sound has led the Los Angeles Times to call her “a likely candidate for contemporary music fame.”  With the release of her new album imminent, and a promotional tour of the US and Europe spanning the summer and fall of this year, Sarah Pierce and The Healers certainly look set to go all the way.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, July 17, 2003

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