Todays music has the unfortunate ability to be manipulated by the latest fashions and fads, an impressionable pawn in a game of popularity. Indeed this is not a new phenomenon. But like last years it model, the excitement fades and the flavor of the month is replaced, until the new flavor is itself superseded by another, and the cycle continues for infinity. In addition, if music is able to avoid such trendy cycles than it often falls into easy categorization, afraid to travel outside the bounds it has created for itself. The most compelling artists and musicians are able to transcend these pop culture trends, relentlessly creating against these tides of category.
The David Samuel Project is one such group of musicians, suffusing timeless honesty, emotional transparency and musical showmanship into a sonic package that must be seen and heard to be fully appreciated. The band, with Samuel on guitar and vocals, Scott Eastburn on bass, and Kevin Van Walk on drums, seamlessly fuse an organic mixture of rock, blues, funk, and soul into dynamically progressing jams, massive grooves, and moody melodic ventures.
So where does Samuel draw his influence in a day and age of commercialized music and clone-like genres? Although he still finds inspiration in the artistry of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Santana, and of course Jimi Hendrix, Samuel and company have found new and invigorating influence in lesser known players: Austin, Texas based guitar slinger Doyle Bramhall II, former-Austin-now-Pacific Northwest based Ian Moore, and the lengthy, guitar-dominant jams of the mid 1970s Miles Davis Group have all loaned musical inspiration to the bands collaborative efforts. The result of these influences has led the lyrical and instrumental components of Samuels music into a melodic and soaring realm whose often minor-chord structures and emotional lyricism become musical confessions to the listener; celebrations of faith and hope in Vision of Love, reflections of pain in the progressive adventure Behind the Sun, pure exuberance in the optimism of Feel Real Good.
My songs are story lines, Samuel says. I would like to create my music the way a cinematographer films a movie. Its as much a visual craft for me as it is musical.
The David Samuel Project originally began as an outlet for Samuels more explicitly blues-based pieces. Just listening to the gritty textures and sensitive dynamics of the lamentation Another Blue Sunday, incendiary fretwork on the rip-roaring boogaloo Groovin, the old-school feel of Howlin Wolfs Tell Me and one can hear that Samuel has not lost touch with a music that holds expressive significance for him.
In the early 90s I suffered a series of trials and tribulations that really came to define who I am today. It was as if my world came crashing down around me. If that doesnt fuel the blues, I dont know what does.
However, the blues as a specific genre of music holds no dominance for Samuel.
The heart, soul, and passion of life are the things that influence my craft. Those components are the blues in my opinion, not necessarily a specific sound, or category, he says.
Pick a style of expression and David Samuel will deliver the goods it seems. The David Samuel Projects strength is evidenced not only in their commitment to musical integrity, but also in their versatility as evidenced by Samuels acoustic guitar compositions and arrangements, making he and the band as comfortable in coffee houses or cocktail settings as he is on the main stage of a hot blues joint or rock club. The beauty of Samuels music is that it has the ability to bring people together regardless of worldview, because his experiences are universal.
Im laying my heart and soul on the table every night of a performance, Samuel says. It doesnt matter how the day is going or if there are three people in the audience, I just want to be as honest as possible in the way I convey my music. Its a commitment my band and I have to the audience.
An intimate interaction with the listener fueled by a guarantee of musical integrity and ingenuity; a novel idea to some, but all in a nights work for the David Samuel Project.
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, soon Hawaii