Latest Recording News

Sam will be releasing a new album of 11 new songs, provisionally titled “Hold Up The Sky”, in the spring of 2018.

The album will feature Pat Crowley on keyboards. Pat is one of Ireland’s leading musicians who tours with the Mary Black band.

The album will also have the colourful Memphis-based guitarist and singer-songwriter Rev Down on a bonus track.

Dublin City FM Feature – November 6th 2017

Dublin City Fm radio station presenter Kieran Kelly featured Sam for 2 hours on his Tuesday evening show taking about and playing all the tracks from Seeking The Assassin . Billy Robinson album engineer , producer and bassist, also told stories about life on the road with such as John Lee Hooker; Mary Black and John Hiatt.

Some Thoughts on Songwriting

I was asked recently to offer a younger songwriter some advice and responded as follows.

I very much like your song but would just tentatively suggest that it might improve by presenting a less romanticised version of auld Ireland.  I find it hard to advise anyone about songwriting as it seems such a personal and mysterious process. The fact is, some of us just have to do it – for better or for worse. (A  bit like marriage). Often it will most probably be for the worse, but I can no longer imagine not trying to write songs; failed poet that I am. However, in fishing terms, most of us are casting our lines into the ripples, way downstream of Robert Zimmerman – the bard of Hibbing Minnesota. But then again we might just occasionally pluck from the depths a sizeable rainbow trout that he has missed – or chucked back in!

‘Twas Dylan who said that the best songs were “confessional rather than professional”. It has been claimed that he writes songs relatively fast. Leonard Cohen, on the other hand, claims to spend a much longer time on perfecting material. And what masterpieces he delivers – still, at a cool and sprightly 81 years of age.  At a London concert a few years ago he said that he had last played the venue when he was 65. “Just a wild and crazy kid back then!” And, people like Tom Russell are writing some of their best material late in their careers.

You will find what works best for you. Some of my own better songs came more or less instantly and others took prolonged re-drafting and brutal assassination of ex-darlings to “perfect”. But sure, as James Joyce said, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

My major  influences included  Jimmy Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Howlin Wolf;  Lightnin Hopkins; Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, John Lennon; Bob Dylan, The Band, Leonard Cohen, Captain Beefheart, Love/Arthur Lee; Joni Mitchell; Neil Young,  Morrisons Jim and Van; Nina Simone, Little Feat, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Roland Kirk; Tom Waits Waylon, Willie and the boys – and The Beats of course. They all bubble away somewhere in the subconscious. But that is just me and my Americana inclinations.  Others have their own lights to fly by.

Read the news and poetry and listen to the best wordsmiths in your genre and others. Dylan is steeped in the Bible; Shakespeare; the Blues and old time Country and Traditional Folk music, including both English and Irish. Then keep your eyes and ears open for inspiring notions. Travel far and wide. Push yourself that bit further. Walk long distances in new places, even through the night.  Listen to Tom Traubert’s Blues and I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. Listen, listen, listen. Then tell it like it is. Don’t preach; there is enough of that already in Ireland and in your country.  Give a voice to the marginalised, dispossessed and strung out ones where you can. Put a word in for me if you make it big!

Then the song really must sound like it has always been waiting to be written and the writer must find ways of getting right inside it and coming out again to make the listener care. And he/she must try to cultivate a credible voice, having mercilessly wielded a razor sharp  Cliche Remover. Leaven it all with a shot of humour from time to time. God knows there are enough tortured souls charting the murky depths of Gothic introspection.  (“The Bedwetter School “as my old friend film-maker and musician John T. Davis puts it).

Stick at it and don’t let the know-all critics and cynics deflect you. For as Frank Zappa said, “Most Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t speak, for people who can’t read”. Soon you will be able to hear my own album Seeking the Assassin and judge for yourself how far downstream of Dylan I have been angling!

All the best.

Sam.

Launch of “Henry’s Guitar” Video

On 16th June 2017 on the first anniversary of the death of Henry McCullough, Sam released a video (produced by Thomas Gray) to accompany the tribute song to Henry – Henry’s Guitar. The video includes footage of Henry at Woodstock, performing with Paul McCartney’s Wings and with his own band, which included Percy Robinson, who plays on Seeking The Assassin. The video is dedicated to the memory of a legendary Northern Irish rock musician who is much missed in Ireland and far beyond.

R2 (Rock n Reel) Review of Seeking The Assassin

The March/April 2017 edition of R2 included a 4-star review of Seeking The Assassin. The reviewer Trevor Hodgett said, “Sam R Gibson is an exceptional songwriter in a range of vernacular styles, including country, folk and rock, many of whose lyrics explore the themes of ageing, the passing of time and death”. He went on to say that, “the contributions of producer Billy Robinson and musicians like Percy Robinson, Peadar Coll and Seamus  Devenny are exemplary”.

Sam featured in R2 (RocknReel) Magazine, May 2016

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Article about yer man and his new album Seeking The Assassin from May 2016 R2 (RocknReel) Magazine . Fine piece of writing by Trevor Hodgett . Thanks also to Mary Black and Professor CP Lee for kind critical comments. Thanks to Mr John T. Davis for his album cover photo Desperado Downtime and much else. Indebted to Donegal’s finest: Billy Robinson, Percy Robinson, Seamus Devenny, Peadar Coll, Jonathan A Smeaton and John McNutt. What a session it was! Also backing vocalist Amanda Brady!
Seeking The Assassin – an album of original Americana songs from Ireland is available at http://www.samrgibson-singer-songwriter.com/