It's a bit belated, but as I've just got back home for summer from university I've finally been able to listen to Sam Beeton's new record, In The Yard, on vinyl. Having listened to the album a lot already on my iPod, I can certainly say that this format heightens it, giving the tracks more depth and making me fall in love with the record even more. Almost four years ago exactly I went to see my favourite band, The Hoosiers, live for the first time, and Sam was the support act. After meeting him and shortly organising a gig with Sam at my school's summer fete, we've since had a couple of photoshoots and I've seen him play gigs in a variety of places across the UK, both headline and support slots - in short, the guy is a genius and quickly became a favourite of mine when I first heard his music four years ago.
Up until a year or so ago, Sam was releasing his music in an interesting, unique manner through his Record Club, a subscription service through which fans got a track or two a month on a signed CD direct to their door, as and when Sam had recorded them. This process was full of benefits for both Sam and his fans, allowing us to constantly get new music from Sam, who was able to receive instant feedback on the tracks, building up a relationship between Sam and his fans, and allowing for, in a sense, worldwide recognition, with subscribers on every continent. Sam has however recently returned to more traditional methods of releasing music (though it appears that the plan is to release more tracks through the record club in the future) with a full album, entitled In The Yard, featuring a mixture of new tracks and restyled Record Club tracks, which was released earlier this year.
As a big fan of Sam's work, it might seem bias if I label it as one of the best records of the year so far, but don't just take my word for it, I've seen others likening album track Belong to the work of Paul Simon, a comparison which Sam would be pretty chuffed with, I'm sure. A highlight of the record for me is the quiet, stripped back song Moving Out, with its beautiful lyrics supported by stunning vocals and guitar play. Of the songs on the record this is one which I can most easily identify as Sam, as when playing live he usually performs solo with simply his acoustic guitar, though even this track is embellished with keys and strings, but the record is well produced and these don't drown out the main elements of the track. A few of the album's tracks have been previously released on issues of the Record Club, but have been revamped, and I'm particularly fond of the new version of Waiting Game with its beautiful cello solo. Can You See The Lights, one of my favourite Record Club releases, remains a particular favourite. Some of the other more punchy, upbeat tracks struck me less strongly at first, but are certainly growers, and I'm keen to hear the new material performed live (particularly as I haven't seen Sam live in over a year and a half!)
Overall, its a really brilliant record that was worth the wait, and that would appeal to fans of artists such as Paolo Nutini, Jack Savoretti, Ben Howard (you get the picture...) Below is the official video for the track Belong, and you can find links to buy Sam's record In The Yard here.