Shaun C Bryant

SINGER | SONGWRITER | AUTHOR

ALBUM REVIEW | Comeback Queen | Sam Coe

ALBUM REVIEW

Welcome back to the new look blog!!

To help all of us creatives out there, I have decided to try and blog on the new look website as much as I can about independent artists (and some big, mainstream artists occasionally too), in a effort to get some great music out there, in the forefront, during what are really difficult times. It might not even be musicians either. I simply want to help as much as I can!

I’m lucky. I have a great day job that pays the bills. Many musicians, artists, and creatives, don’t. They rely on live performance, CD sales, merch sales, and the ability to perform to get the word out there about their craft. Live music was at the front of many artists and bands direction, and WAS their business that paid their bills. Coronavirus and lockdowns put paid to that. I just hope that by blogging about them, I help just a little bit.

I have followed Sam Coe’s music since I saw Sam Coe & The Long Shadows perform at The Shires headline gig at Taverham Hall back in 2017.  Their fantastic performance switched me on to their fantastic Americana/country music, and Sam’s great country voice. In 2019, Sam recorded and released her solo album, Comeback Queen, and what with the coronavirus, Sam has, sadly, not been able to tour and promote this album, let alone perform songs from it!

So here it is. My review of the album, Comeback Queen by Sam Coe.

Comeback Queen

The sultry tones and great vocal from Sam make for a nice opening track. Musically, the lovely, rounded tones with a delicious keyboard and guitar mix, combined with the bass and drums kicking in, make it up to a delicious full bluesy track with some delightful riffs and fills. And, as usual, Sam’s vocal adds that colour to make this a superb album opener.

Devil Don’t Care

There’s a great guitar intro here, with a superb bluegrass feel, combined with Sam’s wonderful intricate lead vocal, and delightful harmonies with stunning tempo and key changes throughout. The introduction of strings and brass makes for a wonderful and colourful album track. Tied in with a great bass line with a deep tone in the headphones, it’s rather lovely. After a few listens, it really has grown on me, and has become one of my favourite tracks on the album.

In The Moments

As this track opens, with a beautiful haunting keyboard intro with Sam’s haunting vocal, complimented by soft string accompaniment, soft gentle cello strings kick in that pull at the heart. The track has a bit of a Christina Perri vibe to it and as the vocal rises, the goosebumps kick in. This is a beautiful track, with some great heartfelt lyrics. The middle eight with the rising vocals and the strings is simply sublime. This is one of the most haunting, beautiful ballads I have heard in some time. Sam’s vocals simply shine in this one.

Concrete

This one opens with a sassy keys intro with a old school Chicago musical vibe. Sam’s vocals are totally suited to this style, and you can visualise her on that stage, all sultry and sequins. The attitude in this vocal shines out and there’s that message of ‘don’t mess with me or you’ll be sorry’. A perfect movie soundtrack song. Best get that publisher to find a sync deal for this one!

Bonfire

The opening of this particular album track is delightful, with a combination of Sam’s soulful vocal and keys. What’s not to like? I love that Sam’s vocals are so open, honest and soulful on this track. There’s a sincerity in the vocal that’s infectious with a lovely gospel vibe going on. As the song lifts, so does the vocal, with a slow beat that makes for an anthemic feel. One for the lighter’s at Sam’s next gig.

Hard Time

Oh boy. What an opening. Could be from one of those tough-guy cowboy flicks on Netflix. Hard, rough and with that fiddle in the lineup, it makes for a great country track, tempered with Sam’s honest vocals, giving it that Sam Coe resonator shine. A real foot-stomper. You can see the cowboy boots tapping on a weathered wooden floor in a bar in Nashville. And then the clapping and the keys. Love this one. Sons of Anarchy, here we come.

The Truth

Sam’s clear vocal opens this track beautifully. The emotive lyrics explain a place we have all been to. And then, the guitar adds that ragged edge to what is a superb ballad, with a touch of Chris Issak. The drums and the keys kick in to give this track a full, deep sound, and that combined with Sam’s vocals, makes for what is another favourite of mine from this album.

Cruel

A soft, rocky opening with a lovely guitar riff adding to another lovely vocal opening by Sam. This song builds slowly, allowing you to tap your fingers on the steering wheel on a sunny, autumnal day, as you drive along enjoying the lyrics that explain how you need to be cruel to look after yourself sometimes. We’ve all been there, and this song gives out a message of independence after a rough spell. Great lyrics and great guitar work. The solo is delicious, and adds to that ‘tough’ vibe of the song. Closes out beautifully after the solo too.

Safe And Sound

Wow. A clear vibrant vocal against keys that gives such a haunting feel to this track, with strings coming in, to make for a song that sparkles with another one of Sam’s honest vocal performances. Sam has one of those voices that has such a lovely range, and that adds colour to every story, including this one. Such a bare, honest track that, again, could be heard in a movie somewhere. I see another sync deal on the horizon!

Burnt Out

Being an 80’s kid, Sam’s vocal performance reminds me of another Sam, and that is Sam Brown with her 80’s hit, Stop. This track has a similar vocal but with much softer undertones. Sam’s voice has a velvety feel here and you can see this track being played in an intimate setting. We’re talking the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville being a prime example. The guitars and the keys, along with Sam’s great vocals make for a stunning album track.

Merry-Go-Round

I was tapping my fingers to the delicious little guitar riff that opens this one, and then Sam’s honest vocal jumps in, adding even more colour. I love that Sam’s vocal is often exposed in the album tracks, with just keys or guitar for accompaniment. The guitar in this case compliments her vocal perfectly. There’s a lovely soft touch of reverb on her recorded vocal here that adds a delicate warmth to this one. And again, another movie track! So many sync deals, so little time!

I have to say, overall, this album is a delightful body of work, that emphasizes and entrances the listener. Sam has a sublime, country vocal that is honest, pure and clean that adds wonderful colours to every track performed on the album. On top of Sam’s great vocals is the instrumentation on the album, which is precise and professional, and all compliments Sam’s vocal tone. This gives the album a classy, professional feel, without detracting from the raw honesty in some of the tracks. The production values are spot on, with rich, deep tones that really do fill the headphones with joy. I first listened to the album on an iPad, and it sounded a bit tinny in places, but once you get this album playing on some quality hardware (Sennheiser, in my case), oh boy, does it deliver. 

To be brutally honest, there is not a bad track on this album. There are so many different moods and nuances in every track and Sam gives such a raw, honest performance. I can’t fault it and it has become my album of the week whilst working with the cans on.

Great work, Sam, and here’s to many more!

SCB.

[OUTLETS]

You can find Sam’s album, Comeback Queen, on Apple Music and Spotify using the links below: –

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/gb/album/comeback-queen/1486935009

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/006PJHFtYhbmTsOZI0qUCQ?si=sinsXldlSiecpjuzMIcyiw

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