Laid Back and Quick Witted Country-Folk.
Although he’s been touring the world for quite a few years, we only discovered the soulful delights of Sam Lewis two years ago with the release of his LOVERSITY album.
On the back of the tour that supported that release; Sam took the opportunity to record a concert in September 2019 at Nashville’s Southern Ground Studios, mixing old songs, new songs and even a couple of unreleased songs for SOLO which is being let out into the wild accompanying a Post-Brexit 2020 UK and European Tour.
The first ‘previously unreleased’ song What Does It Mean opens the set in the most beautiful of fashions. Although hailing from America’s South East; Lewis takes the tried and trusted laid back California Sound as his template and you can’t help but metaphorically ‘kick your shoes off and settle back’ for a relaxing hour or so.
That said; even though Lewis’s voice is very easy on the ear; his songs certainly ain’t Hippy-Drippy in any shape or form.
The second track Southern Greek Tragedy is a razor-sharp observation on the broken families that now blight society; and sadly we will all know a family like the one Sam sings about.
A Folk Singer at heart; Sam Lewis neatly straddles that genre with a delightful Country ‘twang’ to several songs; and sings them all with a warm and soulful voice too.
While this is the perfect ‘Sunday Morning; coming down’ accompaniment; there’s so much detail in these songs it would be a shame if you didn’t kick back, with the headphones on on a Tuesday night too ……..otherwise you will miss the minutiae in I’m a River, Waiting on You and/or Virginia Avenue, and that would be a huge shame.
Someone famous once compared Sam to Townes Van Zandt; which isn’t too misplaced as these songs certainly sound like they would have sat comfortably in Townes’s kitchen; but I think he owes a lot more to Guy Clark or James Taylor in the natural way he delivers his musical time bombs in a deceptively simple way that will take listeners by surprise, sooner or later.
You may listen to I’m Coming Home and The Only One 10 or 12 times before Sam’s ‘message’ finally hits you; and when it does it will be a Hallelujah! moment; and they aren’t the only ones that will catch you unawares either.
For his long term fans the shiny new songs the Tom Paxton influenced (I’m sure!) Neighbours, The Light and the album closer I Love You will be more than enough to make them cough up the dough to buy this sight unseen; and will be well worth the gamble.
I’ve played this now in a couple of settings; mostly in the house, but it also proved delightful company on a car journey to the beautiful Weardale area on a cold and crisp sunny January day, when I walked in the hills for a couple of hours. On that day the stunning 3/4 Time was easily my Favourite Song; but more recently Things Will Never Be The Same has taken on a life of its own as dark machinations and politics have swamped my life; and Sam’s wise words have taken on a whole new meaning to what he thought as he wrote them.
Isn’t that one of the reasons we love music so much?
While the appreciative applause at the end of each song is left in; none of the songs receive much of an introduction; which is odd for a Live Album; but also makes the album a bit of a keeper as that means the jokes never tire; and the songs get to grow and speak for themselves; which always a good thing.
Released February 7th February 2020