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Sarah Buxton fills her plate

By Dan MacIntosh, June 2010

Sarah Buxton has a lot on her plate right now. She's getting a new duo project with Jedd Hughes off the ground, writing songs for an upcoming reboot of the movie "Footloose" and traveling across the country with the first Country Throwdown. Being a part of a new tour is lot like sailing uncharted waters. However, Buxton knows that when you love what you're doing, it's always worth every mile.

"I just believe in it so much," she says. "When you really believe in the intrinsic values of something, it makes everything worth it. I have to believe in something at a root level to really go for it, and I really believe in this."

Buxton is happy to be on the tour, but it could always be better. "Obviously, I would love to have a full band on the main stage," she admits. "That would be at the top of my list of things that I would ever want to change about this whole thing. But to be out here with such amazing people and to seal these friendships, has probably been my favorite part."

Jedd Hughes and Buxton are not just touring partners on this Country Throwdown maiden voyage; they're also collaborators for the brand new duet partnership, Buxton Hughes. It didn't take long for Buxton and Hughes to discover how these singers could make beautiful music together.

"Jedd and I met four years ago when Jedd was on Capitol and my fiancé, Tom (Bukovac), was producing a record on him," Buxton explains. "And they asked me to come in and sing backgrounds. It was just a pre-production meeting where Jedd came over with an acoustic and asked us two to start singing. And we immediately had a very strong vocal musical connection. And I'm all about vocals, growing up in choir. I love singing harmonies so much more than singing by myself. Always have. We immediately were like, ‘Oh! This sucks! Because I have my record deal and you have your record deal. Wouldn't it be awesome if someday we could just start a band?'"

Good things do often come to those who wait.

Sarah Buxton, Jedd Hughes perform

"We'd always say that," Buxton continues, continuing to think back on those pre-partnership days, "and then finally something just changed in me around the time I made that Outside My Window video. I just stopped caring about doing things in the right order and making sure everybody is on board. I realized it's important for me to be on board."

Bob Dylan once sang, "If you somebody you can trust/Trust yourself." Similarly, Buxton discovered a newfound self-reliance streak right about the time Buxton Hughes was solidified. And now, in the same way Buxton believes deeply in Country Throwdown, this independent-minded artist is fully ‘on board' with the Buxton Hughes partnership.

"I know that what Jedd and I are doing is creative," she explains, "and I know that it's cool and that it's working for me. I just know yet whether or not it's going to sell millions and billions of records. I hope it does. I just feel so strongly that this is where I'm supposed to be."

While it's good to find a singer you can harmonize with, it's even better when you connect with a harmonizing writing partner, too. "We wrote a lot together," recalls Buxton. "About two months before Christmas, we wrote about 60 songs, I think. We really hammered down and got into it. I love writing with him. He's really fun to write with. (And) a great guitar player."

You have to wonder if Hughes sometimes considers, in the back of his mind, Buxton's previous duet successes. After all, she's had high profile chart songs with both Keith Urban (Stupid Boy) and Dierks Bentley (Sweet & Wild). But to hear her tell it, Hughes deserves to right up there with commercial country's top male performers.

"I know good music, and I know good singers," Buxton comments. "I know good musicians and songwriters. I've been in Nashville for almost 13 years, and Jedd is as good as anybody I've ever worked with. He's super talented and he's so young."

Nevertheless, working with (for?) Urban and Bentley was completely different from collaborating on an equal, peer-to-peer basis with Hughes. "It's different when you go in with someone who's already very established because I'm lower on the totem pole, as far as commerciality right now; as far as what's playing on the radio goes," says Buxton. "So I'm coming in going, ‘Okay, what would you like me to do?' And they say, ‘We want you to do this.' And then they'll piece it together however they want. But with Jedd, it's more like we're coming at it as equals."

"With Keith, if I am on the fence about it, and Keith goes, ‘Oh, great!' I'm more likely be, like, ‘Cool'" I just want him to be happy."

However, Buxton would be lying if she said she never gets impatient about reaching the commercial levels of the Bentleys and Urbans of our music world.

"It does get frustrating sometimes," Buxton admits. "But it's just like anybody else's job. I'm lucky enough to have a job where I'm passionate about it. I would be doing this whether I was going to be making money in the future or not because I love it so much. And that's the part of it that always shines at the end of the night. I can have a frustrating day where my sound was terrible, and I blew out my voice so I couldn't hear myself. And I'm just, like, Uuuhhh! Well, at the end of the day I go, ‘Would I have wanted to take back that show, and that opportunity to play for my fans?' Hell no! But I'm just trying to be a lot smarter about what I say ‘yes' to in the future because I feel like I've helped a lot of people out in a lot of ways, and I'm ready to be helped out. I am ready to just focus on me, so I think that's what I want to do for the rest of the year."

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