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  • Writer's picture Jase

Samuel James @ Swamp Water Bluz - 08/01/2022

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

Its been awhile since I blogged a set at Swamp Water Bluz (or anywhere, really, if I am being honest here) and the artist I saw tonight is brand new to me and the venue. I am looking forward to blogging Samuel James.

We arrived about half way thru the first tune, a song of pain and suffering about a person in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, I missed the title, but it was very well done and caught my attention immediately.

Next tune was the Goo Goo Dolls' "Name", a study of that time of everyone's life when you realize that there is more to life than playing childish games, and that there is a serious side to life that needs to be considered. It's a sad realization, and one we all go through sooner or later. Samuel did a lovely job with amazingly clear, clean vocals along with his clockwork playing skills. A fine tune brought forth by a fine musician

"Rise" is an original tune written by Samuel and continued a slower, retrospective theme of the set we are not used to at Swamp Water Bluz. It's been a very laid back set so far, but this tune demonstrates that he's a very good singer/songwriter/player that deserves a listen. Samuel also showed a great talent in reading his audience and admitted that he may have to kick it up a notch to keep people in a venue more used to upbeat fare. The Blues can certainly be slower and about good people having bad times, and we all get the blues sometimes, so having said that, if you are out for a romantic evening and want to explore the slowdance side of the dance menu, this is an excellent artist to have as your guide... smiles

"Cant Help Fallin In Love" by Elvis has been done by everyone and his dog and you would think that it would be hard to take possession of such an iconic tune... but Samuel manages to do just that. His phrasing is similar to the King's, but he puts his own twist on it and it becomes all his.

When he slipped into Zach Bryan's "From a Lover's Point of View", a song about alcoholic suffering and pain, Samuel sang and played with a sensitivity that is rare. He does his songs well, but I do think that to play in a place like the Swamp one needs to adjust the set to the audience, and its mood.

The next tune, "For What Its Worth" did that and was a highlight for me, and an old favorite. Despite a lyric glitch and an "old" comment... (lol) a great interpretation of a classic who's time, it seems has come around again.

All in all, Samuel James is not bad at all. and I enjoyed his set. It may have been a little slow but he recognized it... and I think we have not heard the last of this great musician. Swamp Water is still there and will, no doubt be there for Samuel to try out his new material sometime soon!



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