Long Live another Great Ballad Writer
This album rides the rails of poetry, each song a story that allows the listener to travel along with the singer to each of his destinations. With words of depth, Sam Payne creates lyrics and riveting music that remain "in the corners of my mind" long after the CD is finished.
It gives me great joy to see this singers success, for there are far too few people who care about the words, and the story thus suffers. Sam is a poet and a balladeer, a rare and wonderful type of musician, thus his music needs to be shared and treasured.
Kevin Jones, The Independent
From tasty piano ballads to great big jazz/funk arrangements, "Railroad
There are a surprising number of fine musicians and songwriters in southern
Utah, I know most of them and I can¹t imagine any of them taking exception
to a declaration that Sam Payne is the best. I¹ve followed Sam¹s progress as
a writer and performer and have even had the great pleasure of sharing the
stage with him on a handful of occasions. Describing Sam¹s rare gift as a
tunesmith and lyricist is to exhaust most of the superlatives in the English
language, and the glad tidings I¹m pleased to bring is that Sam has just
completed his first full length professionally produced CD.
The record, Railroad Blessing, is an absolute treasure that proves beyond
any doubt that Mr. Payne has matured into a world-class talent. For those of
you familiar with Sam¹s music, I know I¹m preaching to the choir, but for
those of you who have yet to experience this man¹s way with a song and a
story--this gem of a recording is all the evidence I need offer in support
of my case. Do yourself a great big favor and get your hands on a copy.
You¹re going to want to share it, and if you¹re having trouble trying to
think up something to stuff in a stocking your search is over.
The record is sensory gold-mine, thanks in large part to the impeccable
arrangement, musicianship and production of Spiral Studios¹ whiz Steve
Lemmon. Along with Ryan Tilby on Bass, guitar and mandolin, and long-time
Sam Payne skinsman Korky Ollerton they set a table that allows Sam¹s soaring
vocals to provide the centerpiece. I¹m going to leave it for Sam to
elaborate on the many other terrific musicians who¹ve also made savory
contributions to this sonic Banquet. Suffice it to say that this is a
technical knock-out of an album that you¹ll have to hear to believe, and it
will very likely bring Sam Payne to the attention of a much larger audience.
Tad Trueblood, The Spectrum
"Railroad Blessing" is an artful blend of music, lyric, and narrative imagery
There are moments when you just know. The first time I
heard Sam Payne play, his opening chords caught me and
nearly overwhelmed me. In that moment, I sensed I was
listening to something more than a rare and wonderful
musical talent--which he certainly is; I knew this was
That particular song now joins 11 other original tracks on
Sam Payneís new CD entitled “Railroad Blessing”, produced
by Steve Lemmon of Spiral Recording Studios. Stylistically, it’s an amazingly diverse
recording, but tied together by a common thematic thread.
“We move around alot, but nearly all the songs somehow
explore human love,” says the young singer/songwriter. “The album always comes back to that; exploring the exhilarating, terrifying colors of love.”
Payne is hard to categorize, drawing from Folk and
Bluegrass traditions on one hand, and Jazz, Scat and Funk
influences on the other. “Railroad Blessings” is a superb
showcase for his cross-pollenating style, combining
elements reminiscient of James Taylor, John Denver and Dave
Matthews with a pinch of Dylan. On either guitar or piano
he evokes real emotion in an audience and his voice is as
clear and strong and clean as a desert sky.
But what unifies his myriad gifts is his love of lyric.
The words in a Sam Payne song aren’t just convenient
syllables, they’re at the core of his art. The words
matter. Just as the poet strives to do, Payne uses lyrics
to cast images in the listener’s mind, amplified and
colored by voice and music. For example, take these lines
from the album’s title track:
Feel the engine’s fire and listen to her cries.
let the steam boil down around you as she flies. . .
Rocket out across the prarie.
Yellow moon behind a sunset full of rust.
Or the portrayal of a young soldier in “Ohio Son,” an
exquisitely poignant song with special relevance as we
collectively hold our breath over the looming Iraq crisis:
And his blue eyes are on the horizon for a flicker of gray.
‘Cause there’s a thunderhead high on the desert
and there’s a clock ticking low on the wall.
In his heart, Sam Payne is a story-teller. With its artful
blend of song, lyric and narrative imagery, “Railroad
Blessings” is part album, part anthology. Its settings
range from a space capsule smelling of cosmonauts, to the
dust and guns of Mexico, to the frozen wall of Everest. The characters include an Italian kidnapper with a limp and a
wood-fairy with a voice like a rusty wire. To me, it’s
all about telling what happened.” he says, “The great
stories, the ones with meaning, don’t preach. They just
relate what happened, and the message flows from that.
That’s what makes them real to us. That’s what makes them
Sing us more stories, Sam. It’s good to hear something
If you like John Mayer, you'll love Sam Payne.
I'm not comparing Sam to John, it's just that when you hear the "freshness" of the CD you think about the first time you heard John Mayer and why you picked up his album after only hearing one song. The same with Sam. When listening to the CD though you think "Wow! This guy is so talented, each song has a different flavor, I wonder what's coming up next?" I can compare it to like when one is tired of the same old fast food and just wishes for something to awaken one's palet - it's the same thing only it's a treat for your ears and your senses. Thanks Sam for sharing this with us.