Sammy Brue - I Am Nice

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2017-06-16

A quick glance at Sammy Brue, with his hair past his shoulders and his natty glasses and hat combo, and you might think he’s the kind of deeply brooding folk-type. While it might be true that he’s more of folk type, his debut album I Am Nice can be more uplifting than you might expect.

The single, if you’ve happened across them, display the best of Brue’s melodic side. ‘I Know’ has him cooing over a relaxing mixture of finger picking and lightly shuffling drums. Immediately the weaknesses of the writing are obvious, with arbitrary lines like “It’s ok cause I’m a mess, but I’m not here to impress” making for a slightly jarring experience.

‘I’m Not Your Man’ has the same trouble, with a meaningful strum and a hollow sounding double bass, this pining song should be epic, but instead it runs itself into a hole, rushing the ending with “I wanna be your man. Now I’m you’re man”. It’s quite maddening to see any unique angle taken out of the lyrics.

There is another side to some of the songs on this album. It can be found on ‘I Never Said’ and ‘Jealous’, a more soulful streak, helped by a lilting bassline and a swinging sweep of the guitars. Never really hitting the pedal to the floor with this though, leaves Sammy far adrift of someone like Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, who add folk to soul and come up with a more potent brew.

With writing which falls somewhere between the beautiful simplicity of country music and the complex intelligence of folk, there is never really a cohesive feel to the music. In fact, Sammy does himself more justice on the straightforward, rockier numbers like ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Control Freak’. 

Under the wing of Justin Townes Earles, Sammy Brue has a solid place to pitch his tent. He’ll surely need more time to find a more incisive route to keep as well as gain your attention though, but this is a debut with promise enough to give a try. The album title should give the game away, and don't be fooled by the drawl either - a deep thinker this is not.

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