Comfortable blues

Adam Trice has always been at the center of Red Sammy. His vocals range from gravelly to a straight-out growl, and he's always ruminating about something intriguing. But I've also loved hearing John Decker and his National guitar.

Red Sammy
Creeps & Cheaters
Decker is no longer part of the outfit, but Trice's hard-bitten songwriting remains. At times the electric lead guitar work apes the old National sound, but most of the time there's a leaner, more distorted feel. The effect gives a different finish, but these are still Trice's songs.

Defining this outfit has always been a challenge, and the heaver rock emphasis on this album complicates that further. When things really get going, Trice has a bit of the old Steve Earle flowing. But eventually, Red Sammy does what it does best: Dress up the urban blues in a coat of many colors.

This album is a modest evolution, but one that hasn't put a crimp on the basics that have made Red Sammy one of my favorite Maryland bands. Settling in with a Red Sammy album is like falling into conversation with an old friend. After a minute, it's like you've never been apart.

Jon Worley

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