In an age where so many Blues artists reach their crossroads and are tempted to go down the road marked “Rock”, Sam Hare is a bit different.
The Blues Blogger was on a mission to see Blues prodigy Aaron Keylock play at the Blues Kitchen in Camden when he first saw Sam, as he has a residency there, and other London venues. Apart from being a likeable person who is content to help other Blues musicians by playing with them, he can play and sing rather well himself. And he plays with some very good people, even on the Mondays at the Blues Kitchen when their excellent food is half price (don’t miss their chili).
The night also resulted in the Blues Blogger taking Sam’s album, Down to the Sea, away. Those who buy albums at gigs expecting more of the same from the live set only to find horrors of bad lyrics and new instruments destroying the sound they expect need have no fears here.
If there is one surprise in this gently placed, relaxing, even mesmerising, album it is that (a very subjective claim) the keyboards are sometimes reminiscent of Steely Dan, but that is not a bad thing. From the live show, “Stealing from the Queen” and “You just bring me water” were the expected highlights, and they are indeed excellent.
But this album has a sting in its tail, the closing tracks “One more chance”, a brisker paced song than most on the album co-written with Ian Siegal, and “The Bridge (send word from me)” are outstanding. “One more chance” has some great keyboards, and amusingly in these PC days some lyrics concerning the joys of sharing cigarettes (filthy habit, by the way….). The closing song, “The Bridge”, has the stately feel of a Mississippi paddle boat to it, a graceful tune with some glorious drum rolls and twanging guitar. Lovely.
Matt Schofield fans should note his contribution of guitar solo on “I’ll give you everything”, which doesn’t, as more of Matt’s guitar prolonging the song would indeed have given us everything.
Owing to his guests, Sam’s live performances and jams with guests are very enjoyable and do not entirely echo the album. The album, on the other hand, is a genuine “have on alongside your morning coffee, juice and croissants” experience, or perhaps one to have ready to play as a late night smoocher if a suitable guest is being entertained.