Wednesday, October 31, 2012

REVIEW: Sam Russell - The Year of the Cow

The Americana soul and doo-wop folk of Sam Russell and his collaborators, The Harborrats, have featured on this pages several times, but this appearance represents a little change of pace.  In The Year of the Cow, Sam has pared down the contributing musicians and recorded an album of folk music.  In essence, this is the first solo album in Sam's Blue Moon Bible project, in which he intends to record eight albums consisting of eight songs each with recurring characters.  The Year of The Cow is the sixth in the series, by my count (although, as a former history major, I disclaim any responsibility for counting accurately).

This approach emphasizes Sam's warm,  comfortably worn vocal delivery and the sincerity of the compositions.  And both the delivery and the quality of the songs are capable of the burden of carrying the album.  As the rainy season reaches the Pacific Northwest, and I look for musical accompaniment for my late night reflection, my choice these days is The Year of the Cow.  The overall effect is that Sam is singing his stories just for you.  And that is a very good way to spend some time.

Here are two of my favorites, "Monkey Trap" and "Mirage" --

If you would like to evaluate the entire album, you can stream it in its entirety at the Bandcamp site linked below.

The Year of the Cow was recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered in Seattle.  All songs are written by Sam except for the closing track, "Whatever's Left", which was composed by Zoe Muth.  The credits are Sam Russell (vocals and guitar), Ken Nottingham (upright bass and harmonica), Michael Spaly (fiddle, mandolin, banjo and percussion), and Daniel Walker (piano on "Whatever's Left").

Twitter ( @SamRussell18 )

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