Are blogs still a thing? I want them to be a thing…. But my last post was a long, long time ago. Pre-global-pandemic long. Regardless of this, I’ve been busy. I mean… most people are busy. But I feel like I actively seek it out. It’s a symbiotic face-hugging alien sort of busy. Lately, it’s also been a productive sort of busy, filled with growth, learning, musical experimentation and now ‘Burning Bridges’.

In between full-time classroom Music Teaching work, trying (not always succeeding) to be the best Dad and Partner that my time and energy can afford and working to ensure that those hungry demons of creativity are sufficiently and regularly fed, I’ve also been striving towards increased musical output and additional skills as part of a fully-featured DIY Musician. Note: All album Artwork (besides graphic design) for the first 3 tracks are by the incredibly talented Caroline Cooke. Click for her instagram.

Violet Road Records ... My home studio.
My new Home Studio setup … still a work in progress.

Consistency in this industry as a completely independent musician is really hard work. It has taken me far too long to figure out how much I should be doing to give myself the best chance of breaking through to new listeners, music-lovers and audiences. And there often isn’t much in the way of returns – financial or appreciative. Still, you’ve gotta keep keepin’ on. From my experience, most creatives don’t pursue their craft with returns as a goal. It’s a need. An insatiable, endless search for creative release, fuelled by curiosity, dopamine and ego. Maybe there’s more… Leave me a comment if you disagree?

Like many musicians who were prevented from performing live gigs and encouraged to think outside of the box in 2020, I finally took the advice offered by various friends over the years and spent a hard-earned tax-return (plus savings) on some quality studio gear. I would still have to outsource musicians to record certain instruments that required larger setups but I could now record studio-quality foundations (guitar, bass, voice etc) at home. My new gear also enabled me to start experimenting with production through mixing, editing and arrangement.

Track One – Merry Christmas

The first track to come out of this new phase in my musical journey was titled ‘Merry Christmas‘ and released in mid-December 2020, just in time for the aforementioned holiday. Melbourne’s Lachlan Bryan offered some advice for this track, played piano, and was originally going to jump on board for more songs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, as he got caught up with his own projects.

Merry Christmas Cover Art

Track Two – Ground Me

The second song, Ground Me, was released in early February. I don’t know how much more to say about this track besides expressing my love for the spacious production and spooky instrumentation, contributed by my mate Jolyon. Oh, and before I forget… Bec Ursino – if you’re reading this… Thanks! Bec was part of a very early stage with these songs, where I wanted to experiment with a higher pitched female vocal tone blending with my own. First three songs from this new batch feature Bec.

Ground Me Cover Art

Upcoming Release – Burning Bridges

Now… this brings me to the new song coming out this Friday! Burning Bridges is another ripened fruit picked from my 100 Songs in 100 Days experiment/exercise conducted a few years ago. I love the track. I think that this might be the happiest, radio-friendly song that I’ve ever released. It’s upbeat without sounding lame or cheesy (at least I think so). This is also my first time performing and recording banjo for myself!

Burning Bridges Cover Art

I know that I’ve said this a whole bunch already… but I truly CAN NOT wait for everyone to hear it.
If you’ve continued reading this far, do a guy a favour and Pre-Save via Spotify? Pre-Saving lets Spotify’s algorithm know that particular songs should be included in Editor playlists. If you can’t wait to hear it either, sign up to my newsletter. I’m sending a preview link to the song with each new subscriber.

Live at The Midnight Special – 21/4/21

Before I sign off on this long, long overdue blog post, I should also mention a kick-ass kick coming up on Wednesday April 21st in Newtown at The Midnight Special. 2x shows, 26 tickets per show. Buy online now before it sells out. Tickets only $15.

Facebook Event

I love House Concerts. They are intimate, personal and musically fulfilling. These are often the gigs where people feel comfortable enough to have a big chat before or after the show. They are the gigs where you can get adequately deep on lyric backstory or the songwriting process. House Concerts make it easier to authentically connect through the power of music. For me, this is what writing and performing is all about. In an effort to more actively pursue the kind of shows that I love playing, I’ve created a new page on my website where anyone can easily book me to perform at their house. No matter the location. Click on my menu now to have a look.

“Lullaby in the Key of Relief” at the spectacular Red Dog Studio Sessions. One of my favourite House Concert setups in Sydney.

I want to reach new fans and develop a network of a long-lasting, real connections with other music-lovers. I want to share music in a way that regularly leaves an impact.

While organisations such as PARLOUR (there are a bunch more) are doing really good things for the Music Industry in Australia, these setups still require the use of a ‘middle-man’. As a completely self-funded, self-motivated and self-sufficient independent artist with a relatively small fanbase, I feel like this is a pursuit that I could find greater success in when fans can book me directly (here).

I have now recorded and released 3 full-length records, including an EP, and toured nationally. My social media game isn’t too bad, as you can see from this (out-of-the-blue) blog post. I write often and I am happy with the songs that I create. Still, I am yet to find satisfaction in all of the shows that I perform. I understand that most musicians accept this as the norm. I don’t want to have to be picky about venues and dates, I want to play more.

I think House Concerts are the answer.

Convinced? Sick of me rambling? Go to the House Concerts page now.

On this page, you’ll find an FAQ with all necessary information and a form to complete. If you’re more of a Facebook person, feel free to also drop me a line via the contact button on my facebook page.

Don’t be shy, book me for a House Concert.

My new album ‘Stare Into The Dark’ is now out everywhere.

Sam Newton - Stare Into The Dark

Recorded live at Blue Sky Recording Studio in the Blue Mountains of NSW over three days, Stare Into The Dark is my third full-length release and includes many of the songs written during my 100 songs in 100 days songwriting challenge.

Like my previous album, Violet Road, the creative powerhouse Chris Gillespie lent a heavy hand in producing, engineering and mixing duties. Michael Carpenter from Love Hz also did a fantastic job mastering this record.

Adam Collins at Antidote Creative illustrated and designed all of the visuals. Such a talent.

Finally, the following musicians deserve special mention, having played on the record and collaborated in song arrangement: Cameron James Henderson, Emma Stephenson, Nick Henderson and Oscar Henfrey.

The Stare Into The Dark team

You can purchase Stare Into The Dark at the following websites:

Not into buying stuff over the internet? Thanks to distribution from MGM, if you’re in Australia or New Zealand, you can also order in the physical copy from your favourite record store.

The album is also available in limited format (6 tracks only) via streaming:

If you have any questions about the record, don’t hesitate to drop me a line or get in touch with the legendary Stuart Coupe, who is currently organising the publicity end of this release.