Sarah, Madison & Joshua put on a Show

December 15, 2018

How happy I am that I made it to The Listening Room of Mobile last night.

The drop-dead gorgeous Madison Grace was the opening act. I have heard her many times before and each time I see her perform she has grown. She is much more comfortable in the spotlight and her raw talent is finding itself and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.


She sang Lion Pride (from her debut album, Equilibrium of Contradiction)  two short phrases stuck in my head from this song. “I love you, yes its true until your Lion Pride comes crashing through”…”Its time for me to stand tall”…(it paints a story many of us may understand…when we assess a problem relationship…I agree standing tall is the only way).


My favorite original song she played was “Dark Side”. The title grabbed me, her explanation was spot-on…but I feel everyone interprets music in their own personal way. It may not be what the writer intended or attempted to convey. It is interpreted differently by each person who hears it…based on their life experiences. I felt this song. In this song she says, “I’m not suicidal, I just won’t to die.”…she goes on to say, “Sometimes dark seems better than light and I can’t tell you why!”…the best line in this song is…”The devil always lies, but its  you who controls your dark side.” I know this song could be a hit. I will watch to see.


Sometimes I tend to go for the deeper, darker songs. I believe it is a song’s job to make you feel…Whether those feelings address good or bad memories is unimportant, it wakes you and makes you FEEL. …everyone experiences both and it is important to capture them. Tapping into real, relatable emotions should be a consideration by the writer when a songwriter grabs a pen or a laptop.


Madison sang a few songs I had heard before and some new ones I was not familiar with, then she added two Christmas songs to close out her part of the show. She sang “Everybody’s waiting for the man with the bag. Then an old Christmas song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. She did an excellent job on both. Her primary instrument is the piano/keyboard, however she also plays guitar as she did on a couple of songs last night. Madison was magnificent for sure. 


Madison had a partner who added some great guitar licks and made her music fuller and on a couple of songs, I would say “bouncier”…it sometimes made ya want to get up and dance. Her accompanist was Joshua Stephen Ward. It was my first time to meet him. Josh is a skilled guitarist and his expressions when he plays lets you know he feels the music deeply.

I spoke with him after the show, bought his CD “Becoming” and exchanged business cards.

I can’t wait to hear him performing his own songs. Becoming is a full CD, with 12 songs. I haven’t had the time since last night to listen to the entire CD, but Armageddon blew me away…the lyrics, the music and the supporting video…wow!


Check out the music of Joshua Stephen Ward…it has a “rock” edge and you will NOT be bored, not even for a second!


The headliner for the evening was Sarah Burton.

Sarah is from Canada. She now lives in a very small town in Texas. I believe it is Turlingua. She gave the description of an extremely tiny town with trailer parks and desert land, 2 stop signs and one traffic light (I hope I remembered that right). But she feels home there, has learned how to shoot a gun…so she has become a true Texan.


I didn’t know what to expect from Sarah. I had only read what I could find on the internet and I only remembered her broken heart and broken down van. My son is a musician and his days in his rock band The Ugli Stick had such issues as well (at least with the broken down vehicles…not sure about the broken hearts)…guys don’t usually discuss romance with their moms…but they do commemorate break-ups in songs. So I am aware of the tough times and sad times for a traveling musician (male or female).


The minute Sarah opened her mouth I loved her. She has the right vibe, the perfect voice for her songs and she tells her stories well in her music. She had all the things I look for when I sit down to enjoy live music. She has a comfortable rapport with the audience. 


I have heard so many songs and reviewed hundreds of music shows, but I must tell you Sarah’s song “I Still Feel The Same” made me cry. I have felt that feeling and it hurt so deep. I watched her video on this song as she sat alone in the desert; it painted the feelings her song evoked like nothing else could have. Oh Sarah, you nailed this emotion…I bet most of us have felt that way at one time or another. Bravo! Here are some lines form this song:

“Ten years have passed and I still dream of you”….I still light up at the mention of your name, I still feel the same”, I still hold the flame, I still light up at the mention of  your name. I still crumble at the mention of  your name”. “You seem satisfied, I’m happy for you…but I still feel the same.” 


Every song she sang, and all that I have had an opportunity to listen to (I bought one each of the CDs she had available) and I haven’t heard one I didn’t just love.

“Don’t Let Me Be Alone On Christmas” was a tear-jerker too. Sometimes people don’t stop to think about traveling musicians and how much they sacrifice in time away from their loved ones. Some never think about the situation they are in during the Christmas season…He or She is here…yet their family is far away. Consider checking with musicians to be sure they have somewhere to enjoy the holidays, no one wants to spend Christmas alone.


In every career there are those who were born for it, there are those who just decided to do it. No amount of training can make you as skilled and suited for any career as well as the ones who were born with it in their DNA. It is my firm belief that musicians are born that way…the real musicians. You can tell the difference if you go to live shows.

SARAH BURTON was born with music in her soul. She is in the right profession without a doubt.


Check out these fine people if you haven’t already: Madison Grace, Joshua Stephen Ward and Sarah Burton. Buy their music and go to their live shows, you can thank me later.


Thanks again Jim Pennington for putting together a wonderful show at The Listening Room

Thank you Madison Grace for a wonderful performance

Thank You Joshua Stephen Ward for some awesome guitar picking

Thank you Sarah Burton for being who you are…who you were born to be

Juanita Smith

Music Mom





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