51. Red Sammy — A Cheaper Kind of Love song
[For the first 50 of this series, go here.]
I first mentioned Red Sammy a good few months ago, at Genre Confusion. I described them as a “a country-blues-folk band with some pretty serious soul.” Better than that, they were serious gents, and gave me this CD for free, basically on account of my radio show. While at one point I intended to to a special Rating My CD’s on it, the moment passed, so into the regular rotation it went. However, inasmuch as this is one of the rare groups in my collection I’ve seen live; it’s still special to me.
The best part of Red Sammy in general and this disc in particular is John Decker’s tasty Resonator licks. Unlike your average guitarist, who picks up steel to show off his artsiness, Decker breathes the instrument. His fingers seem to have melded with it. Nor does the band make the mistake of putting that Resonator sound higher in the mix than it needs to be; it sits right and tight, giving each song a sweet rough twang exactly where it’s needed.
This is the kind of music that makes one anxious to throw out the very concept of genre as anything but an advertising convenience. Red Sammy’s sound doesn’t just mix rock, folk, and country, it hearkens back to that ur-music that all three came from, without once sounding dated or nostalgic. And Adam Trice’s vocals, growling but friendly, evince pain and assurance in equal measures, yielding a performance of surprising emotional freshness.
There is some music that feels out of place at certain times and in certain places; e.g. I have a hard time playing Joy Division in the summer, or Queens of the Stone Age in the winter. Red Sammy doesn’t have that problem; it sounds appropriate the year round, whether you’re rolling through the foothills or tooling the streets of Baltimore that the band calls home.