Sarah Reith of Southern Raised is the first in a new series featuring younger artists in Southern, Bluegrass and Country gospel music. We hope you enjoy the journey as we travel into the lives and hearts of the new generation of gospel artists.
Southern Raised call themselves a Christian acoustic band and their sound certainly crisscrosses over all types of music, hitting Southern and Bluegrass a little more often than others, but you can hear a lot of influences in their style. The Ozark mountains cast their shadow as well as the infiltration of a Celtic resonance. The sibling harmony is sweet and the instrumentation is adept.
The members of Southern Raised are all close in age, but among family members Lindsay, Sarah, Emily, and Matt Reith, Sarah was chosen for this feature. She is the second oldest of the four, and has been nominated for her excellent vocals and banjo picking. Since the group started in 2007, they have all received several nominations for songs, vocals and instrumentation, and Sarah plays a major part in this groups’ popularity.
Justin McLeod: What was the first musical instrument that you learned to play?
Sarah Reith: I was eight years old when my older sister started piano lessons. She took them for a couple of weeks and of course ‘lil sis wanted to take lessons if big sis was, so I started piano as my first instrument.
JM: What instruments do you currently play?
SR: I play banjo, piano, violin and a little guitar, but my true love is banjo.
JM: What are the positive things about being part of Southern Raised and what are the challenges?
SR: I love the opportunities we’ve had to meet so many sweet loving people and the friendships we’ve made over the years. One of the more difficult moments behind the scenes is the all-night drives we occasionally have to do to make it to our next venue. Our bus is currently out of commission, so sleeping in a vehicle all night while someone is driving can be interesting. But the hardest part is being away from my fiancé and not getting to see him as often.
JM: What is it like to travel with family?
SR: I love traveling with my siblings. We were raised to be best friends and we truly all are best of friends. They’re wonderful people to work with, and to do what you love with the people you love is great. Sometimes it can be challenging, working up new arrangements and ideas with siblings, since growing up we’ve all had the same musical influences so we end up having the same ideas. So we try to think out of the box and be creative.
JM: What song do you like the most, out of all the Southern Raised tunes?
SR: One of my favorite songs we sing is an original one that Lindsay co wrote, called “Letting Go.” The message in that song really ministers and speaks to my heart every time I sing it. It’s so encouraging that we can let go of the hardships, difficulties, trials or whatever it is we are holding onto and know that God will lead, that he never fails us and we can fully and completely trust him.
JM: Is there a song you’ve always wanted to record but never have?
SR: I’ve always wanted to do a hymns project. Some of my favorites are “Blessed Assurance,” “I Love to Tell the Story,” “Rock of Ages,” and my very favorite hymn is, “It Is Well With My Soul.” My fiancé just surprised me for Valentine’s Day and taught himself the right hand on the piano and played “It Is Well With My Soul.” It was so special. (Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Sarah and David Noland who got married in April!)
JM: If you could create a perfect musical group, who would be in it?
SR: I would put my musical inspirations together in a band: Alison Krauss, Jens Kruger, Mark Hall, and my arranger would be John Williams, he’s so phenomenal.
JM: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
SR: I love to read; you just can’t beat a good book snuggled up by the fire. I enjoy watercolor painting, quilting, sewing, kayaking, and hiking. Within the last year it’s changed to spending any spare time with a very special someone.
JM: What is your favorite scripture verse?
SR: My favorite verse is Psalms 66:16 “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” This became my verse after we started ministering through singing. This is why we do what we do, to declare what mercy and grace God has bestowed upon each one of us. It’s a joy to “declare” it through singing.
JM: Can you describe a typical Southern Raised concert for our readers?
SR: We would love to see each one who is reading this at a Southern Raised concert down the road sometime. We have a wonderful time praising God together. We mix in our classical background with our current music and style. We’re also doing some songs off a new table project that is Americana in flavor. A couple of my favorites are an Armed Force patriotic medley we do and the lyrics to “Heaven’s Shore” to the familiar melody of “Shenandoah.”
JM: Do you have a dream you’d like to share?
SR: Yes. I have always loved old cars and trucks. It has been my dream for years to one day own one. My ultimate dream one is a 1950’s baby blue truck. I’ll just keep dreaming!
A special thank you to Sarah Reith of Southern Raised for candid and personal responses. For more information on Southern Raised, you can find them online at southernraisedbluegrass.com.
By Justin McLeod and Lorraine Walker
Justin McLeod is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine.
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2019.
Read the June SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE