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“When words like “Moonlighters’ and ‘ghost’ in the title of a CD, DVD or the title of a book appear, my interest is always peaked. Coincidence or not, but when my wife and I a decade ago while visiting Austin Texas this interest was hatched, we discovered in one of the streets of Austin a little shop that sold stuff from a ghost town.
On 15 July this year, the New album by S.A.M. (For friends) is released and upon the first listen, instantly, we would be able to entertain all kinds of superlatives. Why?Because this is another example of craftsmanship at its best. The band consists of Lonnie Trevino Jr.. (Bass, vocals), Phil Bass (drums, percussion, vocals), Phil Hurley (guitar, vocals) and Chris Beall (guitar, vocals) and yes, all four sing lead, and at times to me are reminiscent of the Eagles. But one thing is for sure, these guys have gained their place among the elite of Austin’s thriving music scene and each member is known for playing an important role in bands like Fastball, Monte Montgomery, DEADMAN, StoneHoney, Jimmy LaFave, to name but a few from the long list.
The most important part in their sound seem to me their precise vocal harmonies, because it helps tie in all of the different genres present: Americana, some soft blues and of course great roots music all lurks under their banner of a record. “I’ll Be Coming Home ‘is just a perfect example of how you can keep an interesting album. Strong guitar riffs alternate among pounding drumbeats.
With (Lyin ‘On The Bottom) Mississippi River’ they do go a macabre side, but still a strong track where the guitars claim the lead.
With ‘You, Love & Me’ with the opening line and vocally we go to the swinging direction of “Take It Easy” by the Eagles. “Suburban Avenue also gives away once again their Eagles inspiration, and what a voice that guy has.
By half way through this album I was please that I had heard nothing but strong numbers but, to my surprise the party simply goes on after ‘Lookin’ For A Lover ‘. As for the strength of their numbers, here are perhaps the new Eagles at work? These are all songs with a special message.
“Jesus (Make Up My Dying Bed”) is again a more morbid way but with six minutes, and with it the longest track on the album, and thanks to the wonderful vocal harmonies, this is surely to be your favorite track.
Last song ‘Ghost Of A Small Town “is an instrumental that perfectly closes this wonderful album.
What struck me is the ability by each of the four men to hold their own, something the listener will experience strongly. They are all excellent songwriters. Where have we heard that? Do I need to say Eagles again?
The band in early 2017 to Europe for a promotional tour but no dates for this tour are still listed on their site. Watch is the message for this not to be missed. In Austin, Texas as well as throughout Texas, they are now an established”