Americana Highways brings you this combination interview and premiere of Chuck Hawthorne’s “Sara’s All the Way” from upcoming release Fire Out Of Stone, produced by Walt Wilkins & Ron Flynt and due on July 26th. “Sara’s All the Way” is Chuck Hawthorne on vocals and acoustic guitar, Julie Carter on cello, Ron Flynt on bass and baritone guitar, Geoff Queen on steel guitar and Walt Wilkins on tambourine.
Musicians sing in a variety of ways, and Hawthorne’s way is to croon. With a trill in his voice he lulls you while he recounts complex stories that are as compelling and as unique as they come. Fire Out of Stone is intricate, bluntly honest storytelling with a core of easy emotional connection. “Sara’s All the Way” was so intriguing we needed to interview Chuck Hawthorne to gather a greater understanding.
AH: What is the story behind this song?
This was written about my first tour in Iraq. I was part of a small detachment of eight Marines imbedded into an 800-man Iraqi unit. Being married at the time, my wife was my only real link home. Making it ‘all the way’ in the rodeo means finishing your eight second ride. It’s written in eight parts for that reason – for the eight of us and the eight seconds.
AH: Was there specific inspiration behind it?
We were told by some pretty credible folks that what we were doing was dangerous. In fact, we were told that three of the eight of us would likely be killed and half of the remaining would be wounded. While there were countless close calls, every single one of us made it out without a scratch – we made it all the way, so to speak. My sanity I credited largely to my wife back home and making it all the way, for me at least, meant making it back to her.
AH: What are its metaphoric meanings?
I didn’t want to write a straight up war song. Growing up around cowboys and bull riders, it wasn’t too difficult to put the experience in the guise of a rodeo man a bit past his prime and trying to get through one more run on the circuit – maybe his last by choice or unfortunate circumstance. I was never a rodeo cowboy, but I knew just enough about it to write the song, which isn’t much. The interpretation, as always, is left to the listener. So, ultimately, it means whatever the listener thinks it means. On the surface, maybe it’s kind of a sequel to Ian Tyson’s great song, “Someday Soon,” now told through the male character’s perspective 15 years later.
AH: What primarily characterizes the relationship between the main character and Sara?
Sara is this character’s lifeline…and not in the game show meaning of the word.
AH: What is the most heartbreaking aspect of the song’s protagonist?
The character has run his career in rodeo and probably never received the recognition he deserved or was simply not good enough, but kept trying. Maybe he tried too long and isn’t exactly leaving the sport at the top of his game. He’s old enough now to know he isn’t bulletproof and what he’s doing can hurt him – permanently – but he keeps going. What’s holding him together is his wife back home.
AH: What do you hope the song will convey to people, what’s the more universal message for people who aren’t familiar with rodeo?
Love, of course, and the loneliness associated with a dangerous occupation that takes you away from home and those you love.
AH: How is this song characteristic of the whole album?
This is an album of crucible songs, songs about going through the fire and coming out on the other side, perhaps a bit wounded, but definitely a bit wiser.
Pre-Order Link: https://chuckhawthorne.com/store