Picture lazy river riffs meandering past The Band’s back gate, slow teasing intros hypnotizing you until you wake up inside the music, bullseye lyrics that are the soul of brevity. These things explain why though he lives in Nashville, Sam Lewis is often mentioned as a songwriter in line with the Texas greats. Horns ignite and rich, gospel-kissed harmonies unite as Lewis struts away from the clothesline holding Townes’ trousers and jumps into a convertible cruising Detroit freeways while trailing sweet Hammond hallelujahs. This music could be infused onto 1970s radio and nestle up to “Lido Shuffle” and “Sir Duke” on a feel-good, top-down cruise with nary a stop light. Within it all, Lewis’ creamy, melted chocolate voice is the pièce de résistance.
It’s a juxtaposition of styles, but a seamless one which Lewis comes by naturally. His parents were dreamers and grass-is-always-greeners, thus he attended 20 schools while growing up, collecting snippets of lives lived in many places. Time spent working at Walmart before heading for Nashville also gave him daily elbow-to-elbow contact with tales of the American underclass. These things inform his songwriting rooted in country, blues and soul, which explains his collaboration with legendary genre-surfer Leon Russell. Lewis traditionally wrote on acoustic guitar, only picking up electric guitar in the past half-decade, just in time to give a little more snap to recent tunes that tackle social commentary and our universal struggles with running away or running towards.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle