Listening to Sam Lewis’s latest album it’s immediately clear that this is someone moving in the right direction, the sound quality is crystal clear, the songs are well written, well produced and well-arranged. Everything oozes class and accomplishment.

This is a jump in terms of quality from what generally finds its way into my cd player, this is someone armed with good songs, living in Nashville – and therefore surrounded by musicians so heavily steeped in the tradition of country music that this kind of album would be a breeze to make – and, judging by his January to March tour schedule of England, Scotland and Wales, isn’t afraid of hard work.

So you’ve got a singer with good songs, backed by a good band and is hard working, a music managers dream but there is a lot to be said for taking risks, leaving a little to improvisation, letting a band loose and seeing where it goes. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Loversity’ is not a bad album but it often feels too safe, too polished, too well produced. The album is crying out for raw emotion, for a line that kicks you in the guts, the dirty stories of the struggling farmer, the single mum struggling to keep her children in shoes and the broken relationships that litter every street and town.

Lewis’s album is one of hope, positivity and optimism, sentiments that are never a bad thing, but having a change in mood here and there would have lifted the album into a collection of broader themes and tones.

Like I said, ‘Loversity’ is not a bad album, but maybe an opportunity missed.

Title track ‘Loversity’ and ‘Do It’ tap into the 60’s soul era of Chicago and I think it’s here where the band should stay a little while longer, these songs are crackers! The band swing and shift allowing the added brass to punch in with memorable riffs but also allowing Lewis’s vocals to hit the spot, actually he shows great flexibility with his singing, the album starts off in country/Americana territory but slips into soul midway through the album and finally into a more bluesy feel, there is even time for a midnight slow dance with ‘Some People’ and these differing styles sound safe within his vocal tone.

This is someone evolving and learning their craft, he’s worked with big names in the business (Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves being among the impressive list) and someone not content with sitting still but it feels like there is so much more, hopefully we’ll see this in the near future.

Will this album change your life? Probably not. Will it improve your record collection? Possibly.

As always, take a risk and grab a copy.

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