Sam Thacker’s musical career began under refreshingly unassuming circumstances. As a college freshman in Atlanta he began playing songs by his favorite artists around campus and at bars in the surrounding areas. “I think I got paid something like $25 and a pitcher of PBR,” Thacker recalls of his first gig. After just a few weeks of playing other people’s songs, Sam decided to try his hand at writing his own material and soon began recording what would eventually become his debut album, Above the Underneath.
Thacker released Above the Underneath independently in April of 2005. Sam’s powerful and dynamic vocals come across as strikingly honest on the twelve-song album and gracefully compliment his rhythmic guitar grooves and infectious melodies. As Above the Underneath began to spread throughout the Atlanta area and across the southeast, Sam quickly began making fans out of the most discerning listeners and believers out of the most jaded critics. “Thacker writes with the maturity of a seasoned songwriter and has an undeniable knack for weaving beautiful melodies,” writes Krissie Callahan of Just Another Song, as she proclaims the album: “simply one of the best undiscovered gems of 2005.”
The record also garnered attention from program directors at radio stations in Atlanta and beyond. After Serenade, the album’s opening track, received spins in Atlanta as well as on XM Radio, Thacker became one of a very small number of independent artists to be officially added to the rotation of a Top 40 station. Brian O’Conner, Program and Music Director for Hot 104.9-FM in Tallahassee, was the first to add the song and recalls seeing “the phones light up on the record!”
Despite the airplay, Thacker is, at his core, a live performer. In July of 2005 he joined forces with Metro Talent Group in Atlanta and began touring tirelessly. From Colorado to Virginia, Texas to Chicago, Sam began sharing stages with (and often stealing them from) artists like Gavin DeGraw, Marc Broussard, David Ryan Harris, Edwin McCain, and the Doobie Brothers. “Sam is just one of those guys who knows how to connect to his audience – it pays dividends for him on stage,” says O’Conner. Indeed, it is through his charismatic live shows that Thacker really draws people in. The strikingly honest connection is very real and lasts long after Thacker walks off of the stage. Through shows that consistently move audience members, Sam has built a loyal grassroots following of fans who often go to great lengths to fill rooms wherever he is playing. “We played a show in Atlanta,” Thacker remembers, “and afterwards I was talking to a lady who told me she had flown in from Arizona for the show. My jaw nearly hit the floor.”
In January of 2007, twenty-five hundred fans will join Sam as he performs alongside Better Than Ezra, Collective Soul, Sister Hazel and others on the already sold out Rock Boat, a four day cruise dubbed, “The worlds greatest floating music festival.”
Throughout everything, Thacker continues to draw on his experiences creatively. Using each day as an opportunity to hone his craft as a writer, Sam is enjoying the most prolific period of his career to date. A wealth of new songs like, Deep End, Not the Only One, and Hello, Hello showcase his tremendous growth as a songwriter and an artist. It is a development that has been spurred by recent collaborations with artists such as Emerson Hart (of Tonic) and Charlie Mars.
Today is seems as if Sam’s days of bumming around a college campus with his acoustic guitar are just distant memories. But the spirit behind his music remains undeniably the same. “No matter what happens I’m always going to be a writer, always going to be playing for someone, somewhere,” he says. So keep your eyes and ears open. At this rate, you may not have to look very far to find him.