Sarah Darling‘s version of the Beatles‘ ‘Blackbird’ finds the young singer at her lilting best. The country newcomer cut the song as part of the ”Let Us In’ Nashville – A Tribute to Linda McCartney’ charity album, which was released last November. ‘Blackbird’ was Darling’s first choice.

The singer wisely leaves only a small footprint on this classic Civil Rights Movement song. The original is so well known and so perfect that — much like the Star Spangled Banner — it’d be almost criminal to destroy its integrity and structure.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these sunken eyes and learn to see / All your life / You were only waiting for this moment to be free,” Darling sings during the second verse.

Producer Dann Huff modernizes the song some by adding vocal effects during the chorus. “Blackbird fly / Blackbird fly / Into the light of the dark black night,” Darling sings, her words echoing out into the dark space between verse and chorus.

It would have been difficult to countrify ‘Blackbird,’ which may be why few (if any) artists have ever cut the song or released it to country radio. Huff barely tries, and some will have trouble calling Darling’s version a country song. It’s a fair criticism even in today’s world of genre-stretching. Should that matter to a country music record reviewer? It’s a gray area, but feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments section below. For now, the lack of Nashville fire will cost her a star.

Listen to Sarah Darling’s ‘Blackbird’