Local Music Reviews December 2017

Local Review: Sammy Brue – I Am Nice

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Sammy Brue
I Am Nice

New West
Street: 06.17

Sammy Brue = Bob Dylan + Woody Guthrie

Sammy Brue is a soulful teenage troubadour with the depth of Emerson and the emotionality of Dylan. A Utah native, Brue’s lyrical intensity and narrative maturity defy his fledgling fifteen years of age. Brue speaks to themes that one might assume would elude such a youthful conscience, yet he does so genuinely and without pretense. Deep, pensive tracks intermingle with proper knee-slapping tempos in I Am Nice, a 12-track Americana travelogue. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of The Civil Wars, I Am Nice is professional and clean to a unique extent for a debut indie-folk album. A joyfully retro journey into the anthems of the hippie era are reflected in “Was I The Only One” and “Lay Me Down.” “I Never Said” and “I’m Not Your Man” provide soft and lovely violin orchestration, lending all the lilting, maudlin vibes expected of a proper folk album. Rough-hewn tracks like “Covered In Blood” and “Control Freak” add a pleasant rockabilly counterpoint, including cool guitar riffs and vintage organ backing. Brue’s lyrical acumen is almost alarming, with the reflective disillusionment of a weathered old soul at the end of its leathery rope. “Once a Lover” wanders sadly as the second to last track, nearly evincing tears in the listener yet restraining them with blunted resignation. I Am Nice closes with “Salty Times,” an appropriately titled and pretty anthem to struggle and suffering. Sammy Brue speaks of the universal in human nature with a wit and wisdom that can easily connect with listeners across a wide variance of age and experience. –Paige Zuckerman