By Sean O’Grady


Sam Newton’s new album Violet Road is steeped in the tradition of alternative country pioneers Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Songs that are introspective and deeply personal, they traverse the myriad challenges and uncertain crossroads that life presents. Deep Dark Hole reflects on the menace that is depression, whilst Homesick lays bare life on the road and the sacrifices we make to chase our dreams. Life in all its twisting turning fragmented nature is the narrative that flows through Violet Road.


I asked Sam about the genesis of Violet Road and what he wanted to achieve with the album.


“A lot of the songs were written as a therapy for myself, they are very personal.  I wanted to create a record that did that. Some of my favourite artists like Paul Kelly have touched on personal issues in their music and I wanted to be able to do that as a songwriter, and it not be out of bounds. It is difficult in some ways because you have to work out where to draw the line.”


Songs that lay bare the writers inner thoughts and emotions require internal barriers to be broken and I asked Sam how he approached this challenge when it came to writing the songs on the new album.


“I think it was just figuring out the things that were important to me and that had stayed with me emotionally. It wasn’t about writing honest songs just for the sake of it, these were ideas that were at the forefront of my thinking at the time.”


For Sam crafting material is a process that doesn’t stop, it’s constantly refined and developed.


“I did a challenge earlier in the year where I wrote 100 songs in a hundred days and posted it on soundcloud. I’ve worked really hard on my writing. I’m always writing and thinking two albums ahead. I’m an anxious person! I was already writing songs but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 that I felt I had the songs for the next album. I then called up Chris Gillespie and locked in a time and in July 2015 we started recording.”


Sam worked with producer Chris Gillespie at his Blue Mountains studio. We discussed Chris’ role as producer and how that dynamic flourished when shaping Violet Road. There was a strong sense of collaboration between the two.


“There is a sense of trust between Chris and I, he’s an incredible artist, he has accumulated some amazing gear over the past six years. As a songwriter I really trusted him with the songs, he has a great set of ears.”


Chris is currently launching the album across the country, some of the shows are with a full band and some are solo. I asked Sam about the differences between playing solo and with a band and which setting he preferred.


“It does depend on the room I’m playing in, and the audience. I love playing with a band because I can capture more of the intricate elements of the record.  I can play some guitar solos that I can’t play in a more intimate setting”.


Capturing the heartfelt essence of the singer songwriter genre, Sam Newton’s Violet Road displays amazing depth and maturity. Exploring the expanse of human experience and emotion, Sam has a produced an album of timeless quality.


Violet Road is out now.

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