Violet Road has officially been released for several months now.
With all things that are no longer new and sparkly, the chance of getting any more press to give my album a listen and review has dwindled to almost zero. I say almost zero, because I’ve just been forwarded a great write up by Samuel J. Fell (Rolling Stone, SMH, Rhythms) with permission to publish. Unfortunately, this review did not make it to print due to powers beyond Samuel’s control.
A big thank you to Samuel J. Fell for sharing his words and Karen Conrad for her persistence.
VIOLET ROAD [Independent]
Three and a half out of five
Sydney native Sam Newton’s second full-length record is a gentle one. It doesn’t shove itself forward, jostling for attention, opting instead for a much more reticent approach – soft songs, often with the focus on Newton’s ubiquitously Australian voice which is itself unobtrusive, lilting and velvet, a real listening album.
All this isn’t to say it’s weak or insipid though. Newton proves here he’s able to conjure more than a little power with this gentle approach, the stories he tells vivid in their realism and relatability. Occasionally, he attempts to fit in a word or two too many, or add in a word which doesn’t really sit that well, but overall his songwriting is gorgeously simple, which is another reason why it projects this gentle power.
Sonically, he sits comfortably in the Americana arena, with more than a little nod to the blues and folk music, pedal steel playing an integral part in the overall sound, quietly strummed acoustic guitars and a subtle rhythm section, along with tastefully used harmonica and fiddle. Standout is ‘Homesick’, which is somewhat reminiscent of Eric Bibb, a folky number that utilises the blues as an inspiration, as opposed to direct interpretation.
Samuel J. Fell