STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 33094-13158 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mark Vyner
Prolific roots man Sammy recently released 'Passengers' with Rodney Corder. This album follows similar territory - gutsy Celtic acoustica with a tinge of Americana and occasional full on rock and blues. There is an overlap with 'Passengers' as well, in one of the standout songs, "Friend In Me", albeit a different version. The album delivers what it says on the package - songs of encouragement for the sick and tired, arising from a difficult 2006 for the songsmith when he battled serious health issues. Nice to see that there are some Christian artists who display the freedom and honesty to write modern day psalms of lament. In this case the tough times certainly seem to have opened a creative vein in Sammy that allows a mature faith in an omnipotent God to shine through without empty clichés. The songs were recorded in three different sessions with different musicians, and the variety thus created gives a great listen from start to finish. Some tracks are nothing much more than acoustic guitar skilfully strummed and played alongside Sammy's gruff, lived in and at times Dylanesque voice; others get a full on Celtic rock experience, and others an intricate acoustic mix. Each song comes with a one liner on where it came from; "for everyone who feels they are nothing but a sinner" ("Friend In Me"), "for those who feel ugly and worthless" ("How Beautiful You Are My Love") and so on. Some of the songs build into a real rock sound from a simple strummed intro ("I Love You Still") , others are far more simple ("A Prayer For Blessing"), but with some lovely melodies. The final track strays into old time Americana/blues territory without sounding at all contrived; it wouldn't sound out of place on the sound track to O Brother Where Art Thou. I preferred the fiddle accompaniment to "Friend In Me" on 'Passengers'. But that's about the only complaint on this album!
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