Ask Sarah Davison what her favorite Bible verse is, and she’ll immediately quote Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” It’s a scripture that has accompanied the acclaimed singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist through life’s highs and lows, and one she hand-copied—in a flowery cursive script—from her grandmother’s Bible. “That verse has been with me from my hometown of 180 people to Nashville, going after what I feel called to do, trusting that He’s leading me down the right road,” she reflects.
It’s not only a scripture that beautifully encapsulates Sarah’s own journey, but the ordained path of her band, HighRoad, as well. A gifted pianist and vocalist, behind the scenes Sarah often lends her talents to a veritable who’s who of leading country artists. She played with iconic Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones’ band on his final tour of Canada; has shared the stage with current chart-topper Chris Young; and she recently performed on the Grand Ole Opry with ACM Award-winner Mark Wills, among numerous other opportunities. But it’s the acclaimed ensemble Sarah founded in 2010 that is clearly the passion closest to her heart.
“I love playing for other artists, but at the same time, I’ve always felt called to do Gospel music,” she shares. “When HighRoad first started, it awakened this part of me I didn’t even know God had in mind.” Since the group’s genesis, Sarah and bandmates Kristen Bearfield (mandolin, guitar, banjo, vocals), Kinsey Kapfhammer (guitar, vocals) and Lauren Conklin (fiddle) have already garnered six SGM Scoops Diamond Award nominations and an Absolutely Gospel Music Female Group of the Year award. They regularly perform at leading Gospel music events including the Gatlinburg Gathering, Myrtle Beach’s Singing In The Sun and the National Quartet Convention.
With a fanbase easily canvassing an array of genres—from country, to bluegrass, to Gospel, to contemporary Christian—the ladies of HighRoad now arrive at their much-anticipated third full-length release, Somewhere I’m Going. Once again partnering with GRAMMY®-nominated producer Ben Isaacs, who helmed HighRoad’s 2014 sophomore set, Angel at the Crossroads, the new project finds the group’s grassy instrumentation, lush harmonies and gentle nostalgia-laden melodies harkening back to Sarah’s rural roots in southwestern Iowa.
Penning eight of the album’s 12 selections, Sarah and company evoke a firm sense of belonging—both on earth and heaven—with the standout title-cut: Home is not just somewhere I’m from / It’s somewhere I’m going. “The song is about going home to see friends and family, but a lot of our friends and family are not there anymore because they’ve gone on to be with the Lord,” Sarah explains. “I think every person can relate to that who looks back on their childhood or those memories with aunts and uncles and friends who are no longer here with us. We can be assured we’re going to see them again someday.”
It’s a sentiment with which Sarah deeply identifies. In the past year she has endured the loss of numerous family members—including two grandparents—shedding new light on the classic “Give Me Jesus,” a song HighRoad has performed live many times but never recorded until now. “It’s been a year of just feeling out of control at times, and I think everyone goes through those seasons of life,” she offers. “That song has spoken to me more than it ever has.”
Somewhere I’m Going also features fresh arrangements of favorites “In The Sweet By and By” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” Including hymns on each of their recordings continues to be a significant part of HighRoad’s DNA. “Those old songs are so good, and the words just tug at your heart,” Sarah says. “We will always put hymns on our albums as long as we feel led to, which I think will be forever.”
The project’s original tracks find the group collaborating with the likes of such world-class writers as Sonya Isaacs Yeary (Martina McBride), Jerry Salley (Chris Stapleton), Kenna Turner West (Hillary Scott) and Lee Black (Doug Anderson). One of Sarah’s favorite moments came during a writing session with Kenna West when the lyrics and melody flowed quickly for “Christ, My Hope, My Glory.” The recorded version showcases a Celtic-infused arrangement of piano, cello and violin and features guest vocals from GRAMMY®-winning powerhouse Jason Crabb. “It just came so fast, and that’s when I know it’s truly God delivering a message that someone needs to hear through us,” Sarah says of the song’s birth. “It was a God moment.”
What began as small gigs at county fairs and country churches has quickly become much more for Sarah and HighRoad. It’s not just about the songwriting or the recording, the secret to the group’s real-life harmony may well be found in their sisterhood. “A lot of people ask if we’re a family group,” Sarah says. “No, but honestly, when you’re traveling that much with somebody, they become like family, so I would claim all of them as family.”
HighRoad also considers their loyal fans—a rapidly growing base stretching clear across the country these days—as extended family. “I hope listeners really walk away and say, ‘I feel like I know these girls, and I can relate to these songs,’” Sarah says. “My prayer as a songwriter and as an artist is that I’m just a vessel He can pour through.”
Whether through story or song, the women of HighRoad are pressing on towards all God has called them to become. They are trusting He will make their paths straight as they submit to Him, and no matter what lies ahead, they’ll be going wherever the high road leads.