Sara Petite is proud of her 5th Studio Album, The Road Less Traveled, her favorite work to date. In true classic country style, her autobiographical songs have her sweeping up the pieces of her broken heart off of the floor and putting them back together. “The road has twisted and turned, burnt me, bent me, and broke my heart in ways I never knew could happen,” said the artist. “I have a knack for making people feel both heartache and happiness. I think my songs can be very cathartic.”
A true original, Petite’s music does not conveniently fit into any one musical genre or sub-category, but rather traces her influences in country, bluegrass, rock and folk and emerges into a sound completely her own. As both a solo artist and with her band The Sugar Daddies, Petite has shared the stage with many greats such as Josh Turner, Marty Stuart, Lonestar, Todd Snider, Dave Alvin, Ralph Stanley and more.
Petite recorded Road Less Traveled in Escondido, CA with Christopher Hoffee at Chaos Records and used her band instead of studio musicians. “My last 2 CDs were produced in Nashville,” said Petite, “This album is a dream come true for me to be able to work with my band. It helped me to be as creative as possible.”
Getting right down to it, the 12-song album kicks off with the rollicking title song, “Road Less Traveled”. “It’s about being passionately in love with someone and also being passionately in love with the road,” she confesses. “I am stubborn, wild and independent with a great spirit for adventure.”
Already released as a single, “Getting Over You” is a Tammy Wynette inspired classic 70’s country song. Petite enlisted Frank Lee Drennen (Dead Rock West) on harmonies and Phil Jordan (No Doubt) on horns. “I heard Herb Alpert all over this song,” said Petite, “and Phil came in and did exactly what I wanted.”
“It’s Good to be Me” came from a surreal dream Petite had where she would look in the mirror and see Tom Petty instead of her own reflection using the famous Matthew McConahey line, “Alight, Alright, Alright” and then adding, “It’s good to be me.” Petite states, “I feel like a had a small experience of having Tom Petty’s soul inside my body. For two months I truly felt like it was good to be me.” “Monkey on my Back” is musical homage to famous San Diego band that personally inspired Petite, The Beat Farmers and the record fittingly ends with an acoustic version of “The Road Less Traveled”.
“I am not who I was 3 years ago,” states Petite, “Just like I wasn’t 5 years ago when I put out Doghouse Rose, or when I put out Lead the Parade or Tiger Mountain. I am very proud of all my CDs and they are a collection of who I was at that point.”
In 2010 after her 3rd CD Doghouse Rose came out, Petite didn’t expect to stick to music. She had received a degree in Political Science and International Relations and was starting down a corporate path. Then everything changed when her partner and drummer, John Kuhlken died. “Everything went south for a long time,” she remembers. “I was trying to stay numb so I wouldn’t lose it. Music was the thing that no one could take away from me.” Coming through the pain much stronger and more resilient, Petite felt like a different person. “I feel thankful to be out of that cloud and to have felt so connected to my music.”
It took Petite a long time to believe she could make her career in music. “I used to be so nervous and scared, waiting for people to call me out and tell me how bad I was,” she confesses. “Now my body of work is extensive. I can easily play 4 sets of my own material. I’ve become a diverse musician that can’t be pigeonholed.”
A true artist and musician, Petite is equally at home at a raucous honky tonk as she is at a traditional bluegrass picking party--a small stage in a listening room to the larger stages of rock clubs.
“A musician’s life is not a normal life, but it brings beautiful gifts as long as you don’t get on the emotional roller coast and dip too low,” she said. “It sometimes feels weird to put my life out there so honestly, but the responses I get back make me realize we all feel grateful, we all feel depressed at times, we are all flying or crawling. It just depends on what life is bringing us at the moment or what we have created for ourselves. I love performing and I love telling stories and writing songs. I am so thankful for this life.”