Sam Lewis
Self Released
March 13  2012
by Grant Britt

He's got the soul of Al Green, rooted in Nashville, with a sprinkle of Eric Lindell's Big Easy drawl on top. Sam Lewis’ debut is a stunner. “I’ve got a heart full of love that scares me/I got a soul full of sin so beware of me,” Lewis cautions on “The Cross I Bear.” He’s not kidding-there’s so much soul pouring out of this guy’s pores you could bathe in it. It’s like hearing Al Green for the first time. Lewis’s vocals and delivery impressed the band assembled for the occasion, headed by 11 year Marty Stuart vet Kenny Vaughn, lead guitarist in Stuart’s Band Of Superlatives and a seasoned session musician. Vaughan’s guitar work here sounds like tracks from a lost Eddie Hinton session, dripping with Muscle Shoals churchy soul.     

     Lewis blends gospel, soul and country for a seamless sound that’s been missing in all those genres for a long time.

   “I’m a River” has vocal echoes of a country cousin version of John Prine, backed by ethereal background vocals courtesy of Jonell Mosser, featured in the movie Hope Floats doing the Supremes classic “Stop In the Name of Love.” 

But this is Lewis' show, and his phrasing and buttery soul-drenched vocals soar effortlessly over his accompanists without overshadowing them. “Bluesday Night” is bloozy country soul- Eddie Hinton territory, but Lewis is no trespasser- he’s at home here.

         And even though Lewis sounds nothing like Hinton, or Percy Sledge, who plowed this same field, that country boy with soul feel is the same. It may come from Nashville, but it’s got nothing in common with anything else that place puts out these days. 

This one stands up to repeated listening, cut after cut, time after time. It’s time to pay attention to Sam Lewis. He deserves it, and so do you.

Views: 421

Comment by Amos Perrine on February 23, 2012 at 7:51am

You beat me to the punch! Think Van "Crazy Love" Morrison crossed with Willis Alan Ramsey.

Comment by Dwight Schrutte on February 26, 2012 at 7:39am

Thats why I love No Depression - I dont really need to hear about the latest Lucinda Williams or Steve Earle or Wilco records - Not putting them down in anyway mind you - but I pretty much already know when something lie that is coming out and I now what to expect. As someone who considers myself fairly in touch with whats going on in the music world - at least music that I like ( ie. music that doesn't suck) what a treat to become aware of someone like Sam Lewis - Ill preorder the cd today and hope that he comes to my area some day. An awful lot of name dropping being thrown around Eddie Hinton, Al Green, Percy Sledge -- my oh my - and @ Amos a cross of Crazy Love and Willis Alan Ramsey ? well after listening to what little is available and watching the videos on his website - what can I say ? I'm in too!

Comment by Dwight Schrutte on February 26, 2012 at 11:58am

Comment by TenLayers on February 26, 2012 at 12:07pm


Me too.  I love finding the new, the obscure, the unknowns via No Depression.  I'm pre-ordering as well.

Comment by Mary Sack on February 28, 2012 at 6:55am

Saw this cat on Music City Roots. Liked what I heard but didn't realize I was hooked. Attended his CD release show at The Basement in Nashville a few weeks ago, on a Monday night, I think.....mostly to see & hear RB Morris' new album and witness Kenny Vaughn. Saw those sets and couldn't hang for Sam. Caught the first two songs of Sam's set and realized, "I know these songs." Bought everything he had on the table. STILL in my daily music rotation. Was delighted to bump in to Sam at Folk Alliance International in Memphis this past weekend. Even moreso to hear him lay out "I'm a River" at Eric Brace & Peter Cooper's Red Beet Suite at around 2:30 AM on Friday. DANG!!


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.