Hearing a lullaby is one of childhood's most magical experiences. Sung softly in a quiet, nightlight-illuminated bedroom, lullabies provide comfort, lull the listener to sleep and keep the darkness of the night at bay. As those kids grow up into adults, their musical tastes may change, but that need to be comforted remains—in today's chaotic world, everyone could use a lullaby now and again.
That's why 'Til the Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort, a lullaby-themed album by Salt Lake City singer-songwriter Sarah Sample and Chicago singer-songwriter Edie Carey, isn't just for children, even though Sample got the idea for the project while singing lullabies to her daughter Maeve.
When you have children, Sample says, "you have a full year where at least two to three times a day, you're putting a baby to sleep. ... So you're singing to them at least an hour a day. That's a long time to be singing to somebody." Sample was spending so much time singing to Maeve that "I was starting to write melodies in the chair as I was rocking her," she says. "I was starting the songwriting process because I was stuck in a dark room for an hour, so my mind would naturally start melodies."
Through those writing sessions, Sample created enough material—with her only audience being her baby daughter—to begin recording a lullaby-themed album, a departure from the more upbeat indie-rock feel of her past work. "I just wanted to do something different; I wanted to get off my rutted track and test the waters in some other area," Sample says.
To make what would become 'Til the Morning—which was recorded by Scott Wiley at Provo's June Audio—Sample invited her friend Carey to collaborate with her, since, as mothers and tourmates, they were "on a similar life path," Sample says.
But Carey's path came close to being very different. Struggling with infertility for years, she wasn't able to have her son Luca until, unbelievably, she won a raffle for a $16,000 in vitro fertilization cycle—she sings about her son on 'Til the Morning in the poignant "These Things."
The album is a mix of original songs by Carey and Sample, traditional lullabies ("All the Pretty Little Horses") and lullaby-style covers of tunes by songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt ("If I Needed You") and local Paul Jacobsen ("I'm on Your Side"), and should resonate with listeners of all ages and walks of life.
"We believe everyone needs songs of comfort in their lives," Sample says. "No matter what people are going through, whether it's fertility, or they don't even have kids yet, or they don't want kids, these are just a soothing sonic scape that we've tried to create that you can put on and breathe a little easier with."
The duet record features Sample's and Carey's voices harmonizing beautifully about universal themes of love, safety, family and, as in any good lullaby, not fearing the night. Accompanied by delicate touches of violin, guitar, piano and pedal steel, Sample and Carey have captured the healing balm of lullabies. And adults who listen to 'Til the Morning might catch details that kids won't—or not.
"If people pay attention to what we're singing, there's beautiful lyrics and there's a beautiful story being told," Sample says. But even if the album is only played in the background, "it creates just a really nice atmosphere that is pretty low-key and yet doesn't demand anything from you," she says. "We wanted to create something that is just a soft place to land."
EDIE CAREY & SARAH SAMPLE
The Post Theater
245 S. Fort Douglas Blvd., University of Utah
Friday, July 18, 7 p.m.
$12 adults, $8 children
Thu., Aug. 28, 6:15 p.m. / $5