There is an often bitter (pun intended) debate about whether or not people can produce good art when they’re happy. Carter Sampson’s new album, Lucky, puts that argument to bed.
Sampson’s got a lot ot show for herself: five studip albums, the founder and director of Oklahmoa City’s Rock & Roll Camp for Girls, and a solid reputation around town matched by her repertoire. Lucky boasts songs by Sampson as well as covers by local favorites Zac Copeland and Kalyn Fay and the legendary Shel Silverstein (“Queen of the Silver Dollar.”)
She also brought along some of the city’s finest musicians to support her: Jared Tyler (dobro, vocals), James Purdy (drums), John Calvin Abney (keys, electric guitar, harmonica), Kyle Reid (keys, guitar, pedal steel), Luke Mullenix (bass), Jack Waters (drums, vocals), and backing vocalists Erik Oftedahl, Nellie Clay and Ken Pomeroy, among others.
The album begins with the title track, finding Sampson in a mellow mood as she contemplates her journey. This sense of contentment flows through the next four songs. For me, Lucky really picks up with “Ten Penny Nail,” a determined blues rocker that showcases Sampson’s rasp. Once Sampson takes the lid off, seemingly, the rest of the album is significantly more varied than its first third.
“Tulsa” reprises Sampson’s exploration of her sense of gratitude, this time with an ode to the journey she didn’t quite expect to take. “Rattlesnake Kate,” the album’s penultimate track, is as anthemic as it is empowering — a portrait of grit and determination. The album concludes with an impassioned cover of Silverstein’s “Queen of the Silver Dollar,” seemingly a nod to the album title’s secondary meaning.
Lucky proves that there is plenty of ground to cover even when the terrain is smooth. It also proves that Sampson is in it for the long haul and deserves all the success that will continue to come her way.