Noted singer-songwriter Sam Lewis returns today with a new soulful sound and the release of his long-awaited third album, Loversity. Glide Magazine gave the album 8/10 stars, saying, “…in a year absolutely packed with strong albums, this one is right near the top.” The album has also received praise from outlets like Art + Design, AXS, Rolling Stone, PopMatters, Billboard, and American Songwriter, which featured an insightful track by track from Lewis himself. Lewis has recently toured with bands like Los Lobos, Hard Working Americans, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, and Delbert McClinton, in addition to appearing on lineups for 2018’s Savannah Stopover and the coveted Luck Reunion, held on Willie Nelson’s ranch. He will begin touring again throughout the summer starting today at the WDVX Camperfest (full dates below). Loversity is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify; fans can also order packaged collections and vinyl via his website.
Sam Lewis has collaborated with everyone from Leon Russell to The Wood Brothers. Chris Stapleton dubbed him “a modern Townes Van Zandt”. And while he’s often labeled with some form of the word ‘soulful’ (some have even compared his voice to molasses), Lewis’ style meets at a juncture of many different genres. There’s something about Sam Lewis that is indescribably different — and with his newest project, he’s discovered what most musicians spend lifetimes working for — the place where feel-good music meets vital social commentary.
His forthcoming release, Loversity, is composed of 14 tracks that Lewis has spent over a year and a half writing and playing for others. Since his last release, 2015’s Waiting on You, his classic style remains present yet matured, with a more refined worldview, “These newer songs have been harder to write, but extremely necessary given the current climate I find the world in.”
Recorded at Southern Ground Studios with engineer and co-producer Brandon Bell, the album spans from upbeat songs like the title track “Loversity” to the darker “One in the Same,” an electric guitar heavy ballad with a driving force reminiscent of the Black Keys’ Brothers. While most songs are originals, the record includes “Accidental Harmony”, a lullaby that fellow Nashville songwriter John Mann wrote for his first born child, and “Natural Disaster”, a Loudon Wainwright song that Lewis felt drawn to. The album features some of Nashville’s most distinguished musicians, including Kenny Vaughan, Dan Cohen, Matt Coker, Steve Hermann, Jim Hoke, J.T. Cure and Derek Mixon (both key members of Stapleton’s band).
Lewis explains the origin of the word “Loversity” came from a casual day on the road, while driving to play a show in Richmond when he spotted a bright, rainbow building just off the interstate. “The building had a word on it, but all I could see was -SITY,” he says, “I immediately said ‘loversity’, even though the sign said ‘diversity’. My friend and I Googled it and it wasn’t a real word, but I thought, well, I like that word.” A week later, Lewis returned home and immediately wrote “Loversity”, which would set the tone for his album.
Sam Lewis’ music career in Nashville dates back to summer 2009, when he was still working full-time at Walmart (a gig that lasted nearly a decade). In his off-time, he began playing smaller local venues including the 5 Spot, where he met fellow singer-songwriter Matt Urmy. After forming a friendship, Urmy offered to help Lewis and eventually helped him make his first record at Eastwood Studios. The album, Lewis’ first official release and self-titled debut, featured Nashville greats Kenny Vaughan, Reggie Bradley Smith, Dave Jacques, and Derek Mixon. Following through with his dream of being a musician that ‘records it and tours it,’ Lewis did just that — traveling from Nashville to New York via train to play shows, then spending a month in England.
By late 2014, Lewis had turned 30, established himself within the Nashville music scene, and signed with a boutique label called Brash Records. With the help of Brash and producer Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Lewis released his second full-length, Waiting on You, in April 2015. The sophomore was critically-acclaimed and once again featured Kenny Vaughan, in addition to Darrell Scott, Gabe Dixon, the McCrary Sisters, and Willie Nelson’s legendary harmonica player, Mickey Raphael. No Depression compared Lewis’ soulful style with the likes of Al Green and Van Morrison and Craig Havighurst (Music City Roots) coined Waiting on You as “Americana with a groovy twist”.
While the album was racking in incredible reviews, Lewis’ booking agency was simultaneously being bought out — leaving him with a solid album, but no tour dates to show for it. Feeling defeated and out of opinions, Lewis applied to work at a Post Office in East Nashville. By the time he got a call for a second interview, someone else had called with a more enticing offer: the opening spot for the Traveler release show, Chris Stapleton’s Grammy-winning album. From there, life moved fast. Lewis toured with Stapleton for the remainder of summer 2015, and by January 2016, found himself playing sold-out 2 and 3-night shows at venues like The Tabernacleand Nashville’s gem, the Ryman Auditorium.
Loversity is a powerful return from his three-year studio hiatus. Last October, Billboard announced the album and premiered the video for the first single, “One and The Same”; since then, Lewis has also released, “Natural Disaster”, “Great Ideas”, and “The Only One”. The album landed Lewis a spot on Rolling Stone’s “10 New Artists to Watch” list, with writer Marissa Moss describing the album as, “… seventies psychedelic soul, with a storyteller’s eye, a swampy Southern groove and an emotional, political punch.”
While each song on Loversity has a distinct sound, they all circle back to one universal theme. “This is the closest thing I’ll ever write to a concept album. The idea is that we are all trying to get somewhere — all running from something and toward something. We’re all together in it, though.” As current events in the world divide the masses based on difference, Sam Lewis’ new album is a soul-filled, catchy collection of reminders that diversity and unity can co-exist.
May 4 – Kodak, TN – WDVX Camperfest
May 17 – Abingdon, VA – Abingdon Market Pavilion
May 18 – Nashville, TN – Album Release Show at 3rd & Lindsley
June 9 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
June 10 – Boston, MA – Atwood’s Tavern
June 12 – Washington, D.C. – Pearl Street Warehouse
June 13 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
June 14 – Richmond, VA – Capital Ale House
June 15 – Lexington, KY – Willie’s Locally Known
June 16 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
June 22 – Birmingham, AL – The Saturn
June 23 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
June 28 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
June 29 – Chicago, IL – Fitzgerald’s American Music Festival
June 30 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
July 29 – Aberdeen, NC – The Rooster’s Wife
For more information, visit http://samlewistunes.com/.