Finally Feeling Young, the debut album from Nashville based singer songwriter Sam Robbins, might seem an unusual title for a musician not long out of college but this belies the two year crafting process, seeing Sam move from adolescent to adulthood, song by song. Sam says that “I can hear what I was going through in the songs, and how much I was changing in the recordings. I’m so grateful to have a little time capsule from this chapter of immense growth. It almost feels like a concept album, but it came about naturally as it was happening.”
A multi instrumentalist from an early age, Sam has been writing songs for almost as long, performing at open mic nights in his native New Hampshire to gain performance experience. This live experience shows through on Finally Feeling Young, with every song being given it’s own time and space to grow – there are no album fillers here. Classic sounding classy tracks are the name of the game, with folk, country and 70’s influences abounding. These nods to previous song writing master craftsmen and women mean that the album as a whole has a vintage feel; anyone who loves this genre will feel very at home listening to this.
The album begins with a couple of tracks that beguile you into a place full of warm, lyrical melodies, the sense that this is music to relax to, perhaps to have on in the background. It is exactly that, at least partly – by the time ‘Raining Sideways‘ comes along, you’re happily singing along until you realise you’ve just sung something quite profound about the journey from child to adult:
“no man grows up to be his father if his father raises him right”
Such a beautiful lyric about the role of fatherhood in a young life.
Further on, ‘Saying Amen‘ is a song that draws you in with such a soothing warmth that you know right from the start that it’s going to be a lovely, gentle song, an instant classic. A warm, instant classic it may be, but gentle it is not, other than the melody. The lyrics catch you unawares once again, describing the kind of online messages that like to preach (“keep on saying amen”), supposed Christian messages that are anything but, in tone.
“…easy to preach when you don’t have to understand…your life’s not been made hard by the colour of your skin”
I’ve reviewed a fair few songs of this ilk in the last couple of years and this is a fine addition.
‘Addicted‘ and ‘Put It All Together‘ are a pair of love songs, each with a different slant on the perils of young relationships. The former has a slightly confused air about it, varying between melancholia and hope that it is perfectly suited to a song about the ups and down of love. whereas ‘Put It All Together’ is more up tempo, with a great country twang. The revelation to the writer is that he “still misses you” and that “every song I write is still about you” – as perfect a line about song writing as you’re likely to find in a long time.
The final track is the title track and Sam leaves the listener with a well structured ballad that feels like the end of a journey through his life, or at least these last two years of it. It’s the only song that could have capped this fine debut.
Sam is a natural songwriter through and through and his advice to aspiring musicians is all about that:
“Everyone gets inspired to write in different ways, and I think one of the best things I ever did was realize how I am usually inspired, and then learn when to break from it and when to stay on it. For me, because I grew up playing drums, I’ve found that the groove is really the thing that locks me in. If I can really get a grip on how a song feels, then the rest of it falls into place. It just sometimes takes a while to get there.”
Finally Feeling Young was released on 14 May. Get your copy here.
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