No Depression and Adobe & Teardrops Review for These Lomesome Nights
Samuel Barker is both a gentleman and a scholar. I know this to be true for the first because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my e-mail correspondence with him (and I owe him a follow-up) and for the second, he used to be a music blogger himself before chasing he dream (and we’re an erudite bunch). Barker’s plainspoken folk punk has led him to open for both of our heroes: Two Cow Garage, John Moreland, Those Crosstown Rivals, Cory Branan…just to name a few.
Barker’s sound is a little more subdued than the folks listed above. “Kerosene” is probably the most “accessible” (and loudest) track on the album. Otherwise, Barker is more Moreland than Mellencamp. His lyrics often bear the weight of a poem that’s been set to music rather than a song itself. “Kansas” will twist the knife in your heart left by “12 Hours From Richmond.” I’d like to think they’re of a narrative — “Richmond” addresses the fissures touring creates in relationships, and “Kansas” feels like a likely outcome — realizing, when you’re all alone and at the end of your line, that you threw away the best thing you had. But Barker’s not a one-note pony: “Mendoza Line” and “It’s Okay to Be Okay” add some levity and hope to the mix.
Barker makes the foibles of truly down and out people (including himself) into things of beauty. Stark as they are, they provide a compassionate view of some of our darker moments.
I wonder why a mediawhore jerk like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’ shameless and absurd behavior regularly receive attention while a lonely troubadour with an acoustic guitar and an empty wallet in his pocket lives in obscurity. In parting, a moment of reflection, a single parent caring for two growing children, the Texan Samuel Barker diligently transforms, from the album cover and the title, These Lonesome Night, unbearable agony to the imagination through exhilaratingly poignant folk songs. The sounds of a gloomy man. All realized with the help and donations from various music fan.
We might find some forgiveness
But we have to pay for the sins
You keep looking for answers
But the truth never reveals a saint
Never gave a damn about redemption
(No Saints Here)
Surprisingly strong and forthright, Barker’s self-penned songs, an intense performance of The Bottle Rockets’ Kerosene, combined with his abrasive and lived voice, his guitar playing and singer Kim Daniels lending a hand vocally on Couchsurfin’ & Cryin’, Kerosene, Kansas and Mendoza Line, ensures that Samuel Barker fits in the league of obscurity. After his demo album “All This For Gas Money?” in 2011 and an EP “In The Memphis Sun” released three years ago, Barker confirms with the beautiful and pure music on “These Lonesome Nights” that he is in that category for the right stuff.
Like John Moreland and Austin Lucas, Samuel Barker is a former punk that now plays roots music. On the acoustic ‘These Lonesome Nights’ (Sam’s Handmade Records) the Texan’s raw intensity is displayed. Barker writes about rebellion and overcoming the obstacles of everyday life and, thus, is a happy man if just 25 people show up at a concert. He knows ‘It’s Okay To Be Okay’. But, on ‘No Saints Here,’ he lets you know that he cannot be someone who he is not. Barker (vocals, guitar, mandolin , harmonica) brings songs about trailers that dead end, screwing up and other inconveniences of living in just another small town. In addition to his own nine songs, he brings a cover of the Bottle Rockets’ Kerosene. Kim Daniels joins him on a few songs with backing vocals. We have had Samuel Barker on this site often. Fill his name into our search engine and see.
01. Clara Engel – Lick My Fins
02. Mike Noga – Eileen
03. Beirut – A Candle’s Fire
04. Sands – Signs
05. Republic Of Letters – Stories
06. Silent Feature Era – The Horsebreaker
07. Jacob Faurholt – Black Lake Lodge
08. Butcher Boy – Helping Hands
09. The Fruit Tree Foundation – Beware Beware
10. Samuel Barker – Kansas
11. Danny and The Champions Of The World – Brothers In The Night
12. The Dead Trees – Rayna
13. Stephen Simmons – The Circus
14. Case Studies – Animals
15. Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Tigers
16. The War On Drugs – Baby Missiles
17. Dakotafish – Strange Symmetry
18. The Albertans – The Wake
19. Blood Orange – The Complete Knock
The proceeds from All This For Gas Money? (house) Samuel Barker is hoping to be able to continue his music at venues outside his hometown Houston, Texas, to bring. In 2010 he had to try to keep head above water at an average yield of $ 36 per show, as he then had to drive 149 miles for. If that’s no…t a total surrender to the muse … Samuel Barker is a friend of our acclaimed Huke Green. Together with his fellow townsman, he made several CDs as The Sons Wayword. All This For Gas Money? A raw rootsy and largely acoustic album from a singer-songwriter. With distorted vocals and guitars recorded Easy Come, Easy Go is the clearest example of the influence of the type of noise, where Barker once his heart had been pledged. Goodbye Letter is the screaming style of singing can be described as acoustic grunge. Valve Closing Night sounds on the background constant electric guitar, which gives the song full power. The highlight is the song Kansas, altcountry from the book. Almost with traces of the debut of Son Volt. Available at CD Baby.
I went out on Thursday to see Drag the River and Cory Branan play at a local dive. I was early and the show started late so I had already eaten and knocked back one or four by the time the opening act started up. Rarely am I impressed by local opening acts. Don’t get me wrong, I love Houston with all my heart but the music scene here tends to lean towards indie hipsters, at least for the acts I generally go see, but much to my surprise this opening act was neither indie nor hipster. Three guys took the stage with a guitar, harmonica, bass, and a completely stripped down drum kit and started belting out some pretty damn good music. You could call it Americana or Alt Country if you really want to put a label on it but I have recently given up the whole genre thing so I won’t bother shoehorning these boys into a category.
I went up to thank them after their set and found out that not only are they a good band but they are fans of our little corner of the web. They gave me a couple of CDs and a bad ass sticker that has already found a home on the rear window on my beat up old truck. I am really torn here because none of the CDs they gave me are the stripped down group that I heard play so I don’t want to bias anyone’s opinion but I want to do the boys justice and get their music out there. So I am posting some tracks and while good I prefer the stripped down sounds I heard the other night. The Wayward Sons gig around the Houston area so if you are a local make sure to check them out. Their next gig is at a hookah bar! I probably can’t go but I do have fond memories of a hookah and a certain New Year’s Eve party but I digress.
It’s no secret that many top musicians, literally, live in obscurity. Initially, tell me the name of American singer-songwriter Samuel Barker and I know nothing. His website provides, among other information about his musical projects, The Front Porch Society with like-minded people like Huke Green, Ben Hall, Matt Harlan and Nathan Taylor. In the same period the Texan wrote a number of personal and narrative songs for the self-released “All This For Gas Money?”.
The result is a quirky singer-songwriter record with nine delicious raw and stripped down folk-rock songs with an emphasis on the acoustic guitar and vocals. Barker’s voice sounding like crushed brick. A disk of unquestionable class from a modest, hard-working craftsman with a casual style. Recorded in his own studio with occasional contributions by Huke Green (harmonica), Tommy Worley (guitar) and Rayanna Barker (vocals).
“All This For Gas Money?” Is an unpolished album without unnecessary adornments of the talented songmaker Samuel Barker, who packed with ease unconventional melodies in songs with underlying tension. A coherent and compelling album.