Following the local music scene in my home state, I keep hearing about one band in particular. While I love local acts, we accept submissions from every continent, which demand our attention. In one perspective it is awesome and means the music we cover is some of the freshest and most creative out there. On the other hand, the local music scene we love and that originally captured our musical imaginations when we were first discovering art and the world takes a backseat or becomes totally ignored. I say all this to say, Samfox are good enough to grab and keep our collective attention. Right now they are local, but rest assured, they have their sights on so much more. Young, hungry, and ridiculously talented, the band does not even have a proper bio yet. Time and time again I have seen their name pop up opening for some of the biggest acts in my area. Be warned now, this is a true Ear to the Ground act.
Recently the six piece Cleveland originals released their first EP The Feels, and damn is it good. The release is a collection of six songs that will bring to mind shades of James Brown, Leon Bridges, and a little Janis for good measure. Typically young acts sound like their influences until they mature and find their own sound. The beauty of Samfox might be their gentle nods to who came before them while still maintaining their own confident and exuberant sound.
“Charmagne” showcases the guitar chops and easy soulful sound of the act as lead vocalist Braxton Taylor attempts to woo a woman almost twice his age. Its seductive energy is moved along with the dueling vocals of him and Charity Cunningham. The interplay of male/female vocals is a shining spot in the band’s repertoire. It is a slow burner of a track with no rush and a stable building of a energetic sound.
Title track “The Feels” has a Cage the Elephant flavor to it and is a fun and raucous track. The soulful vocals of both Cunningham and Taylor are especially dynamic on this one. If you love throwback and bluesy rock, look no further than this. “Go and Get Gone” is a piece of female rock empowerment. “I don’t need you anymore baby / I can open up my own damn door / a girl’s gotta learn to be alone” sings the confident Cunningham accompanied by some stellar horn playing from Randall Hoyle. As female empowering as this track is, the next track “Hey Mama”, is that for the guys. This is a fun alt blues track that transcends genre with its crunchy guitar play and cocky as hell lyrics. Somewhere Jimi is looking down with a smile.
“Tired” is a classic workingman blues track while album closer “Walkin’ You” is an easy stroll through the park daydream of a song. It is guaranteed to make you feel better about the current state of the world. One of the band’s many strengths is how they elicit emotion and even give you permission to enjoy life amidst the current chaos. Words fail to properly describe their sound or their ambition. This is the real deal, and we are definitely rooting for their continued success as they undoubtedly capture the attention and affection of a larger audience.
Do yourself a favor and buy their EP here. You will most certainly be glad you did. In fact, if you don’t like it, I will personally write you a check.