If there’s one thing to say about York’s music scene, it is that we sure have an amazing range of acoustic musicians. Sam Carter is no exception. When the former University of York student casually walks on stage he comes across as an ordinary guy, but as soon as he starts to fingerpick on his guitar it’s obvious we are dealing with a true talent. And not only is he talented, he’s such a nice guy. He tells so many stories about his life, both through his songs and in between songs, that it soon feels like you know him as a close friend. Songs about his sisters, his ex-girlfriend, a crush who turned him down, he covers it all. He connects traditional folk melodies with lyrics about everyday life that are easy to relate to.
When Sam introduces his “angry song” about the injustice of his uncle losing his job, I am curious what it’s going to sound like. The songs so far have been so sweet and nice, I can’t imagine Sam ever being angry. Whilst the lyrics may echo his frustration, the song is brought with as much warmth and softness as the previous ones. In addition to ‘angry’, love and breakup songs, Sam plays a poignant song about his sister who passed away when he was three, but follows it up on a cheerful note with a lullaby for his nephew. His repertoire is expanded even more by some of his recent songs that are inspired by shape note singing. These songs are somewhat less accessible for the public, but beautiful nonetheless.
It’s surprising to see he has attracted a largely older audience tonight. Sam has a lot of praise for his audience though, saying: “audiences perform too, you know”. But if anything, it’s because of his tremendous show that the audience is so great in return.By Judith Borghouts