Sam James / Carl Anderson
September 23, 2017 @ 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm
Sam James is an American original, deeply committed to expressing stories of his life through the power of lyrics. He openly articulates that following repeated trial and error, he has found himself and is keenly aware that determination yielded a true sense of originality. His surroundings, and life as a hometown boy from Worcester, MA has shaped him as a man. The industrial economy, and its hard working local populace, have had an impact on his drive to leave it all out on the stage during every live performance, with his intent to stage great concerts that inspire those in attendance to relate to the lyrics and emotion of the work.
James has been a touring artist for several years. Following his appearance on season three of The Voice, he paused and committed diligence to reaching a place of realized vision. Looking back on the experience he reflects, “When you are on a television singing show you get lost in the shuffle most times. I was not nearly as confident then as I am now, and although I knew what/who I wanted to be creatively, I did not know how to achieve those goals. The Voice moves so quickly. Looking back, it was only a quick moment. Over the last two years, I have learned so much, not only about myself as an artist, but about the music business itself. I learned to make music that I respected and loved. You cannot go into recording an album thinking ‘will the public like this?’. That was always my mistake. I wanted to be like other artists instead of finding myself and being true to my own music. Looking forward into the future, I can honestly share that I found the balance of the music of my heroes which include John Mayer, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, and my own music. I am committed to staying true to myself, and if you aren’t happy with your music, then nobody else will be. I finally found myself, and this record reflects that.”
Sam is set to release his new EP “It never Happens” on September 30th. He is currently touring with Boyce Avenue at theaters on the East Coast. He will be performing at The Paramount Theatre in MY on September 30th, and The Metropolis Theatre in Montreal, QC on October 1st.
Carl Anderson’s story reads like the stuff of legend. It’s almost too perfect– like a page torn from the annals of the American Songbook, or the unread script of a made-for-TV special on what we want our artists to look like. Carl was born in rural Wolftown, Virginia to a father who was a part time folk singer and full-time wanderer. Known simply as “Virginia Slim” to his fellow travelers in the “hobo circuit”, Carl’s father had been riding trains across the country singing and working dead end jobs since leaving home at 10 years old. Though Carl was raised on the fidelity of a single mother that gave everything to her family, he still carries with him vague memories of his father as a charming man with a beautiful melancholic tenor that Carl’s mother would come to recognize in her own son.
When Carl hit his teenage years and found himself unequivocally drawn back to the same vocation of a father he barely knew, it must have been both enchanting as well as terrifying. As Carl sings on Different Darkness: “We’re not that different / same wanderlust, met with a different darkness / I can see his face in mine.” While the story itself might seem a like a vignette of songwriting folklore, for those who have to live with it, the pain is all too real.
The fact that Carl Anderson inherited a rare gift is clear, but what every artist can never know is the reality of whether that gift is going to save him or destroy him. The whole vocation is an act of faith that it’s worth the risk.
It’s this tension at the heart of Risk of Loss, not simply the story, that gives this particular collection of songs an unmistakable authenticity that hits you as a listener long before the depth of meaning sinks in. The substance and source of the melancholy and yearning that runs throughout the record remains deceptively elusive. It’s sometimes unclear precisely who the singer is addressing– a former lover, a father he barely knew, or even God– but this is precisely what makes Risk of Loss as purely compelling and universal as some of the best in a long tradition of American songwriting. It’s the sort of authenticity that can’t be cheaply bought like the archaic instruments and anachronistic outfits that plague the genre. Carl is finally doing what every great writer does– he is writing to discover who he is. A young man who was born to sing.