Music discovery is a drug for me and when I come across something I dig, the newer the song and the lesser known the artist is, the better high. Sure, I love it when I hear new music from my favorite established artists, but there’s something about coming across an artist I’ve never heard of, and being completely captured by their music. That’s the high I live for, and the dragon I chase and exactly what I got from Oklahoma City native Carter Sampson and her new album “Lucky”.
After stumbling upon the title track on my Spotify Release Radar a few weeks ago, I was immediately hooked by the smooth vocals and earthy sound. I had to have more… so I headed to her Spotify page and saw that she had just released a full-length album and dove in. Little did I know, just how deep I’d dive. I listened to the album probably 5 times that day and many, many more times since. After we come across a new album we dig, we try to get a few of the tracks on to our Spotify Playlist. Depending on the length of the project, and how much we’re digging it, we usually add 1-4 tracks. So after my first couple of listen-throughs, I knew there were songs we would definitely add to our playlist, but when it came down to actually adding them, I realized that I couldn’t narrow it down to just four tracks. Actually, I had 8 (out of 10 tracks) that I felt would all be a great fit on our playlist, and the more I listened, the harder my attempt got to narrow it down to four.
This really made me realize just how damn good the album was, and as impressive as the quality of songs are on the project, equally impressive is the quantity of quality songs. I don’t remember the last artist I hadn’t heard of yet put out a project that had great song, after great song, after great song. Sure I’ve come across some fantastic projects by artists I hadn’t heard of at the time, but having a whole 10-track album that I can listen to all the way through after my 30th play-through almost never happens.
As I began to listen through it enough for the songs to open up, I began to fall in love with just how genuine everything was. There’s nothing fancy about the album. There’s no instrumentation that’s going to blow you away; and there’s no need for it. It’s just pure and honest songwriting, with a pure and honest sound. And a good reminder that, that’s all you need to make an album worth listening to.
Whether it’s her counting her blessings in “Lucky”, knowing what’s important in life in “All I Got”, or confessing her love for green, country living in “Tulsa” everything comes from the heart. Love songs “Hello Darlin’, “Wild Side”” and “Anything Else To Do” keep it simple, yet not cliché. “Rattlesnake Kate” is equal parts fascinating and empowering and a tale that holds you all the way through. Two of the brightest spots “Peaches” and “”Queen of the Silver Dollar” really allow the listener to dive in. “Peaches” chronicles Sampson’s youth and the strong connection that still exists with her childhood home and it’s front porch swing. “Queen of the Silver Dollar” paints an all to real metaphor of the royalty of regulars at a local bar and their game of affection played with the “Queen”. Most notable about the collection is how you don’t just hear her Sampson, you also feel her presence in every song: her emotions, her feelings, her strength, her doubts and her message. Nothing is hidden or overly complicated. It’s all out there to see, feel, take in, empathize with, resonate with, and embrace…and I can’t get enough of it!
Our pick of the album, “Ten Penny Nail” cranks up the instrumentation and the attitude. The song dives in to the alcohol-infused aftermath of a broken heart. With the gritty guitars, passionate delivery and some of the best vocals on the record, Sampson hits a homerun with this one! And good luck not singing along to standout line: “I’ve been hollerin’ and screamin’, exorcisin’ demons, playing a game I just don’t know how to win”.
Overall, we were blown away by this album. It’s not only something you want to hear, but also something you want to listen to. We’re impressed, we’re fans, and 100% on the Carter Sampson bandwagon. I’m just going to put it out there… this is one of my favorite albums from an up-and-coming artist this year. If you’re looking for a singer/songwriter to dive in to, look no further. She’s the real deal.
Check out our *PICK* of the album, “Ten Penny Nail”, below and then make sure you grab a copy of the record.
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.