Home / Sam Carter / Sam Carter - Home Waters (released on 1/5/20)

Sam Carter
01. The forge
02. She brings me home
03. Fly the flag
04. Bushes and briars
05. Slow waves
06. The watersmeet
07. Hold back the storm
08. Surprise view
09. Grenfell road
10. Ships in the night

In the ten years since winning Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Carter has earned a reputation for vivid, narrative-driven songwriting and captivating live performances. Having made a spell-binding appearance on LaterÂ… with Jools Holland in 2012, Sam has gone on to tour the world, sharing stages with some of the finest guitarists and songwriters, including Nic Jones, Martin Simpson, Richard Thompson, and Chris Wood. Following the release of his last album How The City Sings, Sam embarked on an extensive album release tour with his most ambitious live line-up to date, including shows with Folk Award-winning fiddler Sam Sweeney and pianist Neil Cowley (Adele, Neil Cowley Trio). Alongside a busy solo touring schedule, he continued to break new ground with his work in Folk Award-nominated electro-folk band False Lights, who released their second album Harmonograph to wide acclaim in early 2018. In demand as a session player, Sam was enlisted for a string of festival dates with Eliza Carthys Wayward band and for a national tour with Bella Hardy. In late 2019, Sam joined the ensemble for the touring folk theatre show Rising Up: Peterloo 2019, arranging and performing songs written by the Younguns Sean Cooney alongside Lucy Farrell (Furrow Collective) and Jim Molyneux (Four Square, Kitty MacFarlane). Sams fourth album Home Waters showcases his heartfelt songwriting with sensitive, sophisticated production. Recorded in a converted church in rural Northumberland by producer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Stephenson (Kan, Baltic Crossing, Andy May Trio), Sams live acoustic guitar and vocals sit at the heart of the album. Many of his performances were left unadorned, while other tracks rich emotional landscapes were illustrated by Stephensons cinematic string arrangements, performed by The Home Waters String Quartet (Mark Carroll, Edward Cross, Jean-Pierre Garde, Hannah Tattersfield) with double bass players Matt Ridley and Ian Dodge Paterson. Home Waters was written in the wake of Sams relocation from the bustle of London, the setting that brought such bittersweet intensity to How The City Sings. As Sam settled in his new home city of Sheffield, he noticed that the songs he began to write were attempts to process both his own personal upheaval and the contemporary atmosphere of national and global uncertainty. Images of overwhelming floods, rising tides, and conflict-stricken seas sat alongside themes of love and loss, alluding to the search for a sense of belonging and stability in unfamiliar territory. With its driving, percussive guitar work and blacksmithing imagery, fiery opening track The Forge is a joyful ode to the process of creativity itself. I've long thought of songwriting as analogous to blacksmithing explains Sam. Youre hammering away in the dark in the hope youll create something that shines and catches the light. The influence of Sams new South Yorkshire surroundings is heard on Surprise View, the songs protagonist making annual trips to the viewpoint in the Peak District where he feels the presence of his deceased wife and life-long walking partner most strongly. Elsewhere Sams flair for social commentary remains evident. Fly The Flag laments the surge of nationalism with a harrowing seafaring narrative over an unsettling string arrangement, and ominous down-tuned electric guitar. Grenfell Rd voices the anger and frustration felt by the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, many of whom were left sleeping four abreast in [a] hotel bed months after the tragedy, while Hold Back The Storm is a rallying cry and tip of the hat to those fighting against climate change apathy and inaction. But Home Waters ultimately yields shelter from the storm. She Brings Me Home is perhaps Sams most emphatic love song to date, his warm electric slide guitar phrases interleaving with the quartets sumptuous chords. The album closes with Ships in the Night, where Ian Stephensons harmonium and Martin Douglas drums usher along Sams heartfelt implore to an estranged friend, Lets not leave it so long next time. Home Waters captures the full force of Carters incisive songwriting, as well as marking him out as a guitarist and singer to stand alongside the best of his generation.

Sam Carter - Home Waters (released on 1/5/20)

Sam Carter

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