Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Sarah Jane Nelson’s song “Boat on the Shore.” It was produced by Sarah Jane Nelson and Jamie Tate; mixed and mastered by Jamie Tate.
“Boat on the Shore” is Sarah Jane Nelson on vocals; Pat McGrath (Luke Bryan, Lori McKenna, Lee Brice, Brandy Clark) on acoustic guitar; Jimmy Nichols (Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Lorrie Morgan) on piano. Tommy Harden (Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Justin Moore) on drums; Paul Martin (Waylon Jennings, Ashley Monroe, Marty Stuart) on acoustic bass; and Melodie Chase (Jessie James Decker, Brandi Carlile) on cello.
The video was directed and produced with casting by Sarah Jane Nelson, and edited with cinematography by
Jeremy Burchard. Comforting scenes of nature beckoning to home scenes that evoke our collective classic sense of “stuckness” echo the comforting message of the song. This layered song is just right for anyone who’s been stuck and found a way to push off shore.
Story Behind the Song
I wrote this song about the emotional weight one feels when you are not fully realizing your potential in life. Standing on the sidelines and knowing you were made for something more.
One day I was walking around a marina on Percy Priest Lake, and saw a dry docked sailboat. The curve of the wood, the polished steel… it was beautiful. As I marveled at the boat, I thought about the fact that, although it was gorgeous, it was not doing what it was created to do. It occurred to me that so many people are like a “boat on the shore” and it reminded me of a time many years ago when I suffered from debilitating anxiety. It was excruciating to live in my mind and body. It got worse over time and eventually I was scared to drive on the freeway and felt my world getting smaller and smaller. Pulling myself out of that state through therapy, hard work, and sheer determination was incredibly difficult, but I knew that it was holding me back from doing things I was meant to do in this short life.
Today I am free from that anxiety but this song still resonates with me. We all have fear and circumstances that are holding us back from doing what we were put on this earth to do. I feel that I was put here to write songs and sing, but in order for me to create art that’s impactful, I have to step out of my comfort zone and be very vulnerable. With this song release, I am sailing from my own shore, and I hope it inspires others to do the same.
Story Behind the Video
20 years spent working as an actor in film and theater, influenced the fact that I see stories visually as I write my songs. I love to direct, cast, and do the location scouting for my videos, and this one was a pleasure to work on.
We shot the interior shots at my neighbor’s house two doors down in East Nashville. I loved that her living room felt lived in, dark, and cozy. This is the place where our main character would find refuge from a world that seemed big and scary. I wanted the lighting to be very dark and moody to give contract to the moment when she finally opens the curtains and reveals her space in a new light for the first time in a long while. When she walks to the door and opens it, the light streamed in so beautifully. Sometimes you get lucky when it comes to natural light and that day was a lucky one for sure.
In the course of the video, the lead character takes a step to working through her agoraphobia, but I feel like this message can apply to everyone who has passions that are calling to them. This past year, we have all been shut in a lot and now that things are opening up, we have to take the step out into socialization and getting back to living life.
I was delighted to discover the wonderful Juli Tapkin to play the lead actor in this video. She has such emotional depth and was really open to my direction during the shoot. I was thrilled with the end result.
For the cinematography and editing, I teamed up again with Jeremy Burchard. He always listens to my vision and shoots with such artistry. The first video we shot together was “I’m Not Broken” and he’s done every other once since then.
4 thoughts on “Song Premiere: Sarah Jane Nelson “Boat on the Shore””
You are truly a wonderful songwriter. Your songs resonate to the heart and are about problems at lot of us face. Love your beautiful voice, and glad you can share life experiences you faced with us. I would have liked to have known about you, when I lived in Medford. I would have loved to have seen you perform.