Poolbar Festival, Feldkirch (AT)
Sam Himself, New York's leading (and probably only) Fondue Western™ baritone, is back with 'Never Let Me Go'. The new single, released on 22 July, offers the first taste of the second album by the Swiss "King of Tears" (RTS), which will be released in early 2023. It will be recorded by Sam's long-time "second Beatle", New York producer Daniel Schlett (Iggy Pop; The War on Drugs); mastering will again be done by Greg Calbi (David Bowie; Bruce Springsteen).
It is less than a year since Sam Himself, a New Yorker by choice from Basel, entered the international stage with the release of his "artfully atmospheric" debut album Power Ballads (KEXP). The "big hit" (BZ) lands on radio waves on both shores of the big pond, climbs the national album charts and brings Sam his second Swiss Music Awards nomination in a row. He proves himself live dozens of times in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, either solo or with his top-class live band, which includes guitarist Benjamin Noti (Steff La Cheffe; Endo Anaconda) and bassist Georg Dillier (Anna Rossinelli); recently even together with the Basel Symphony Orchestra.
Sam meets his audience with honesty, wit and irrepressible energy, without conceit or fear of contact. His concerts, rarely free of a few sparks of chaos, are imprinted in the memory of the audience as unique experiences.
With his "smokey baritone vocals" (Under The Radar), the songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist has been making a name for himself since 2020 at the latest, when he was declared 'Best Talent' of Swiss National Radio in recognition of his third EP Slow Drugs (2020); Sam's star was, by all indications, on the rise when he began writing his debut album. Power Ballads is nevertheless audibly marked by the loneliness of a phase in which Sam, by his own admission, felt anything but "powerful": having just arrived from New York, the Basel native suddenly found himself in exile at home in spring 2020 instead of on the planned European tour, with more cancelled tour dates than fresh socks in his luggage and no idea when he would be able to travel back to his adopted home of ten years, New York. (Almost a year later, as it would turn out).
The pandemic melancholy is clearly contrasted by Sam Himself's new single. 'Never Let Me Go' strikes a balance between raw intimacy and anthemic pop, without any cheesy pants-ripping. According to Sam, this is the soundtrack for the first day after the supposed last. He can't keep his dancing legs still, hope throbs in his pulse, suddenly there's a lot to lose again.