*2007 Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase- 1st Place WINNER
*2007 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest finalist
*2007 Tucson Folk Festival finalist
*2007 Mountain New Song Contest (austin regionals)
*2006 & 2007 Founders Folk and Bluegrass Festival finalist
If you could patent a failsafe formula for a marked upswing in creativity and artistic productivity, it could certainly look a lot like this:
– Record a debut album (2004’s “Rotate”), learn from its victories and not-so-victories.
– Rub shoulders with up-and-comers (Amy Speace, Kathrin Shorr) and seasoned success stories (Mark Stuart/Stacey Earle, Vance Gilbert, Christine Kane).
– Move from Utah to Texas to Wyoming to Seattle. Wanderlust, anyone?
– Live and soak in Austin, songwriting capital of the free world (just ask any Texan).
– Be a featured guest at your alma mater’s Mountain West Songfest & Symposium.
– Cut your hair (you’d be surprised by the anti-Samson effect). Maybe even dye it.
– Honorable mention at 2005 and 2006 Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase
– Play all over the Four Corners, and then some- Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas, including in-the-studio performances on KOAY (SLC), WPR (Laramie, WY), KHEN (Salida, CO), KDNK (Carbondale, CO).
– Play the Founders Title Folk Festival, and crash the party with the Go Girls unofficial SXSW Showcase, and Gorilla Showcases at Folk Alliance.
After all that, the last thing Sarah Sample wanted to make was just another folkie -girl-with-acoustic-guitar album. Sure, the songs were born as just an acoustic guitar and a voice. And, in the folk tradition she loves and respects so much, would likely be taken across America that way. But she didn’t want to document them that way. At least not this time.
Enter Scott Wiley (Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, Elliott Smith) and a new sonic palette. With plenty of reverence for the songs– because, after all, it’s all about the songs– they set out to take Sarah’s music into new territory. The album “Never Close Enough” is to Sarah Sample as “Flaming Red” is to Patty Griffin: a marked departure from a promising, acoustic debut but never too far away from her soulful folk roots. Sarah’s passionate, soul-stirring voice is still up front. And her compassionate, empathetic take on the human condition and her melodic polaroids are more moving than ever in songs like “Noah” and the title track. Fresh (dare we say rocking?) ground is broken on movers and shakers like “Pull the Plug” and “If You See Me Walking.” A horn section takes us all to church on “Moonlight Band.” Still, songs like “Sunrise or Two” and “Count the Colors” are sure to feel like that familiar, favorite sweater on a quiet night to longtime listeners.
On “Never Close Enough,” with some new musical colors and a great new family of songs, Sarah Sample has achieved the dream: staying true to the muse while staying faithful to her roots.