Live at Oporto on Monday, 11th March 2013
The theatrical setting of the Gaslight Club at Oporto is perfect for hosting Sam Sallon who glides onto the stage in dark jeans and a black jacket, looking a little like Russell Brand's better-groomed brother. Candles flicker inside and behind the stage snow can be seen gently falling on the road outside. As soon as Sam starts playing there is something mesmerising about him and the setting only adds to the magical quality he is filling the room with tonight.
His songs are more like stories, full of observational lyrics where Sam is the messenger. 'Just the Same' talks about how life is finite and that's something we share with everyone in the planet, it sounds like the soundtrack to a beautiful eschatological dream. 'Long Way Down' is another song that stands out for its simple arrangement yet powerful content and perfect delivery.
He has a very accomplished finger picking style, not showboating but very skilled. Rather than using vocal runs or tricks, he lets the natural tone of his warm voice shine through. He teases the audience with his voice barley a whisper then let's his voice rise, using it for emphasis and not just effect. To put emotion into the songs he uses clever lyrics and interesting melodies, not relying on clichés or key changes. The melodies he goes for aren't the obvious ones but he makes them work so at the same time they sound new yet recognisable.
Having never been a fan of whistling it is surprising to hear it used so well in Sam songs. It's used perfectly in the tracks and his music had a holistic quality, everything works in harmony and complements each other. His music is pure and unadulterated, his lyrics wistful and intelligent, a true raconteur and a striking example of musical talent.