FFO: Sam Shields – Mother Nature | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North-East folk artist Sam Shields releases his first single of the year, Mother Nature, a track he wrote during a time he was reminded of the power of music by watching a friend perform. Lyrically, the song focuses on themes of authenticity – a message which is conveyed via Sam’s earnest, Springsteen-esque vocals accompanied by tenderly picked guitar and melodious, haunting oo’s.

Here, Sam gives us three tracks which help encapsulate the feel of this latest release…

Townes Van Zandt – She Came and She Touched Me (live at the Old Quarter)
I could have picked a number of songs from Townes’ ‘Live at The Old Quarter’ album, so many expertly crafted songs all delivered in the purest form. The album had at least 20 songs in my top 100 most played on Spotify wrapped last year! 

I’ve always been moved by that Dylanesque, surreal style of lyric writing that Van Zandt utilises in ‘She Came and She Touched Me.’ One of the lines that springs to mind:

‘Harlequin mandolins
Harmonise helplessly
Hoping that endlessly
Won’t last for long’

For me as a Songwriter, if I get anywhere near writing something like that, that’s the ultimate goal. 

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne 
This is one of those rare ‘I remember where I was when I first heard this’ songs for me. The music of Leonard Cohen has had a huge impact on the way I approach songwriting, I definitely follow his school of thought in that some songs benefit from taking 3 years and many rewrites, as opposed to taking 3 minutes and being done first draft (though there’s no right or wrong way of course).

When we came to record ‘Mother Nature’, there was definitely influence taken from the sparse sound of ‘Suzanne’ as well the part played by the female voices in the early Leonard Cohen recordings. Special mention to Lauren Barnes and Mollie Birmingham for lending their voices to my tune! 

Joe Pug – If Still It Can’t Be Found 
Joe Pug has always been someone I look up to, both as a songwriter and a musical practitioner, as he’s making the sort of music I want to be making in an era where some may dismiss it as being outdated. So many of Pug’s tunes have had a huge impact on me so it’s hard to single out one but if there’s one song by anyone that I wished I’d written it’s definitely ‘If Still It Can’t Be Found.’ I play it at pretty much every gig I do, usually following my story about the time he responded to my cover on Instagram with a singleemoji! 

It’s also the first thing I recorded in a live lounge with Alex Williams who has since produced my first 2 EP’s and this new single.

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