I got sent this CD in the review pile and accepted it a bit awkwardly, because Mr Russo is a good friend of mine. I did my first solo tour with him in October 2007 and he is one of the single nicest people in the UK scene. So take my following words in the context of someone who is a little on the subjective side….Having said that, I don’t sugar coat stuff….
Sam Russo writes tunes with a healthy disregard for trends, current styles, expensive haircuts and the music scene in general. He is of the ‘budget’ school of recording – these songs are recorded as DIY as DIY can possibly be – talking before and after the tunes, all in one take, back-to-basics folk punk. This doesn’t make him the easiest person to listen to for the uninitiated, but the stripped down tunes on show on this, his first demo (he has done another one since), demonstrate that he writes a damn fine tune.
The acoustic troubadour thing is getting real popular in the US and the UK right now – everyone seems to be going solo (including myself I must add, and I make no apologies), but Mr Russo will do alright simply because he has the magic combination of a cool voice (an English, more distorted version of Matt Skiba I reckon), decent tunes, interesting lyrics and a certain ability to appeal to the cider-punk in all of us.
This boy will go far I think. The songs here aren’t perfect, but there aren’t many better examples of hairy, acoustic playing lefties in England right now.