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

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.

I’m extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of my third studio album – Stare Into The Dark – on June the 22nd.

Pre-order Stare Into The Dark now.

Pre-order is available right now via my bandcamp page and will include 3 advance tracks. Click HERE for more information.

Where can you get a copy?

The album is getting physical and digital distribution via MGM, so make sure that you keep an eye out for it at your favourite local bricks and mortar record store or online via iTunes, Google and more. If your local store doesn’t stock it, you’ll even be able to order it in. You can also find Stare Into The Dark alongside all of my previous releases on my bandcamp page.

Stare Into The Dark - Artwork by Adam Collins

(artwork by Adam Collins –

About the Album

For Stare Into The Dark, I returned to Chris Gillespie’s Blue Sky Recording Studio in the Blue Mountains. It was recorded completely live over a three day period with a killer band. Unlike previous projects, I wanted to take more of a back seat in arranging and received plenty of input from all members of the Stare Into The Dark band.

The band featured:

Cameron Henderson
Emma Stephenson
Nick Henderson
Oscar Henfrey

The Songs

The majority of tracks from the album are also the fully-realised results from the 100 songs in 100 days songwriting challenge that I undertook back in 2016. For me, the arranging, recording and release of these songs signals a bittersweet close to that project/experiment.

I’m stoked with the result and I can’t wait to share it with you.