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Sarah Buxton fills her plate

By Dan MacIntosh, June 2010

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Buxton looked like she was finally going break through to the mainstream with her recent Lyric Street deal. The Disney label released "Almost My Record" EP in 2007 with That Kind of Day and waited until this year for a full-length CD.

But when that label closed down earlier this year, she was left without a record deal. Nevertheless, she seems to have come to terms with this bad break.

"I was having a hard time anyway over there, but I loved all of them as people," she says. "I just never knew if we were the right match because I don't know what I could have done to work any harder. And I couldn't figure out what the missing link was. With every business deal, you sign with high hopes, and I don't think all of ‘em pan out."

Buxton just presses on, never looking back, and performing as much as she can - and especially writing songs. She's recently been working with Julianne Hough, in fact. "I have four songs on her new record, actually," Buxton says.

Buxton is also writing songs for the Footloose remake. "You don't know," she says. "Footloose could be the next Grease." Did Buxton even like the original film? "I haven't seen it." Uh, that's not entirely true. "Well, I mean I saw it when I was really little, but I can barely remember it."

But can Buxton relate to its story? Was she raised in a strict home, for instance, where she wasn't allowed to dance? "Oh no!" she responds. "They (her parents) were strict in other ways, but there was lots of dancing and lots of laughing."

Buxton may not have grown up in an overly restrictive/conservative small town, but Kansas is a long way – at least culturally speaking – from Nashville. And making that move out of state move was certainly tough on her parents.

"They were so tore up about it," she recalls. "They were so sad, but I was so ready. I was just so ready to get out of there. There was nothing; not one single cell in my body that wanted to stay around and hang out with the same people. I was ready to explore. I'd always been Sarah Buxton from Lawrence, Kansas, and that girl. You run and run from yourself, but you're still the same person. I'm still the same girl that I was then. I just wanted to grow, and I wanted to explore without people going, ‘Why is she in a rock band?' ‘Why does she have her nose pierced?' I wanted to be a wild kid for a second. And my dad really supported that. My mom was a little, like, ‘What's up with your hair?' Why have you not done your hair?' My mom was a little, like, on that side of it. My dad was just, like, ‘It's great! Let her explore because she's an artist.'"

And yes, there may well have been reason for Lawrence, Kansas folks to ask why she was in a rock band because she was once a part of an honest to goodness Southern rock band called Stoik Oak.

"I was," she admits, "and it was awesome!" That association might have been looked down upon by mainstream country a few years ago. But of late, country music has fully embraced its Southern rock heritage, whether some folks approve of this move or not.

"When I first started listening to Southern rock, it wasn't until way late, late in my life," Buxton details. "It was probably about 16 or 17 when I first started hearing classic rock and Southern rock, and I was, like, ‘Wow, I was born at the wrong time. Where was I?' I don't think modern rock music is filling those holes."

When the topic of Southern rock comes up, it reminds Buxton of just how restrictive the country music business has become of late. And that brings her down a bit. "As far as my songwriting goes, I've always been more into writing roots-y types of music," says Buxton, thinking back on those pre-country rocking days, "whether it's Southern rock, country or the blues. I've never really been into writing really thought-out, huge compositions and all that kind of stuff. It's never really appealed to me. I really think that that the whole industry – everyone included – could stand to loosen up a little bit about what they think has to happen for a song to be a hit. I just think it's made everything really boring."

Buxton may be from the plains of Lawrence, Kansas, but she is footloose, fancy free, and always anything but boring. She's out on the road, and ready, willing, and able to throw down.

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