Friday, May 14, 2010

#38 On a Bridge to Nowhere with Sam Roberts

When I first Heard the mini album 'The Inhuman Condition' in 2000, I thought it sounded remarkably like a Canadian mash up between the 'Revolver Era' Beatles and Electric Era Dylan. It grabbed me and pulled me in with the memorable (sadly at this date WAY overplayed and slightly annoying) hooks and sounds of songs like Brother Down and Don't Walk Away Eileen.

In 2001, Roberts recorded and released a six-song EP, The Inhuman Condition, independently. The EP sold slowly at first, but following a re-release of the EP in the summer of 2002 on MapleMusic Recordings, his first single "Brother Down" became one of the biggest Canadian hits of the year, and the second single, "Don't Walk Away Eileen", followed suit in the fall. His popularity was really beginning to take off within Canada at this point. It was shortly after that Roberts was signed to Universal Music and released his full-length major label debut, We Were Born in a Flame, in June 2003. That album's singles, "Where Have All the Good People Gone?" and "Hard Road", received a large amount of success, though still mainly in Canada.

The band's second album, Chemical City, was released in Canada in April 2006. In Canada, the first single was "The Gate", which quickly shot to number one on Canadian rock radio. The second single in Canada was "Bridge to Nowhere". "With a Bullet", the third song used to promote the album on Canadian radio, received little attention and no video was made for it. In my opinion they should have made the track "The Resistance" the third single. It is my fave track off the album and one I still like to listen to today. (see playlist) I also really liked the track "An American draft dodger in Thunder Bay". It has great imagery and could have also been a pretty decent single.

Roberts' most recent album, Love at the End of the World, was released in May 2008. It debuted at the number one position on the Canadian album chart[2], a first for Roberts. It further amplifies his devotion to crafting good old school feeling Canuck Rock with lots of Beatles influence. One thing I really appreciated about this album was that he toned down the singles so it feels like more of a full album then his previous works. I heard he has his 4th album coming out later this year so I am interested to see what kind of direction he will be taking himself and his band since the last record.

Overall I am not GA GA over Sam Roberts but he is decent and some of his tracks I quite enjoy. I also have to admit his live shows are quite enjoyable I have seen him live 4 times and his shows are fun, high energy and he plays the songs with a lot more ferocity and passion then it seems he expresses on his albums. Worth checking out if you have never seen him live.

Here are some of my fave tracks by Sam over the last decade.

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