All music is informed by what has come before it but the art is to take those influences and building blocks and put them together in such a way that something new is created. If done well you end up with music that is both familiar in style and new in content; backward glancing sounds that are striding confidently into the future. Sam Green and The Midnight Heist are fully aware of this process and their latest e.p. Wide Awake, is a perfect example of how to make that idea manifest.
Roots music this may be, but whilst it channels the traditions of a number of cultural melting pots, namely the acoustic blues of the Old South and the more pastoral folk sounds from this side of the water, the counterpoint seems to create something totally in tune with modern sensibilities.
Known for a furious stage performance, Wide Awake largely tames that whirling dervish and presents a collection of tunes of a slightly more reflective nature, though you can hear in songs such as Highway One a live beast just waiting to be unleashed. By contrast This Old Road is a windswept masterpiece, all drifting sentiment and mournful violin, a timeless tale as relevant as it is ancient. In a similar vein, play the e.p.s swansong, By The River, and you can almost see John Martyn nodding his approval between the blues guitar and the lilting folk delivery.
In the recent trend where musicians are turning to the music of the past to inform the songs of the moment, none are doing it as eloquently and elegantly as Sam Green and The Midnight Heist. Not to mention…what a cool name!