Wednesday, September 6, 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE: Sarah Summer's "Over the Hills" is off recent release, 'Be Yourself'

The EP was created on the East and West coasts

Posted by Kelly Rae Smith on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 1:06 PM


Sarah Summer wasn't expecting to meet her new musical partner, Sam Smetana, at a San Francisco art show last winter, but that's exactly what transpired. Summer, who lives in Summerville, later wound up performing at a songwriter variety show organized by Smetana. After returning to South Carolina, Summer kept in touch, and the two became pen pals of sorts.

"I started sending him iPhone memos of the songs I was writing, a new song every other week," she says. "He was sending them back to me all dressed up in slide guitar or harmonica, sometimes bass and piano, too."

Before they knew it, the two were recording an EP together via snail mail and Protools. Summer found herself recording songs in multiple locations — California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. "I would spend the day locked in the bathroom, lights out, tracking with my guitar and a string of Christmas lights to set the mood," she says. "I'd load the files to a flash drive and drop it off at the post office with a note to Sam, and in a few weeks time, he'd return the favor. We kept at it until we came up with something we could both be proud of. "

The result is Be Yourself, a five-track collection released on Bandcamp last week. Summer performs uke, vocals, and guitar, while Smetana sings harmony, plays guitar, bass, harmonica, and piano — he also mixed the record.


The title track dropped during the summer, and the new single "Over the Hills" gets a video release today. Summer says that was filmed entirely in Fairfax, Calif., a small town consisting of many hills and valleys — obviously an ideal setting for a track called "Over the Hills." The video also features stop-motion animation by fiber-textile artist from Georgia, Mandy Andree.

The song is a delicate, lo-fi recording with a playful, light-hearted feel, but the singer says its subject matter is slightly less so. "It's a happy-sounding song, but I was struggling internally and longing for stability when I wrote it," she says. "I was imagining the grass as greener. Home is a place where fears and failures subside to make way for peace of mind. I was trying to get there. I'm singing I 'don't know how long I'll last,' but I've learned there's a lot of fight in me yet."

Watch the video above, and check out the whole album here.

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