This singer-songwriter is making the country and Americana scene his own. But can the talented 16-year-old take the world, too?
Straight out of Utah, Sammy Brue was picked up while busking during the Sundance Film Festival. He was brought under the wing of country singer Justin Townes Earle, as his sort of apprentice. The pair have just finished touring the States, with Brue as Earle’s opening act. And now he is being hailed as country music’s rising star.
Brue’s debut album I Am Nice kicks off with the bright and soulful I Know. With lyrics that pull no punches and some subtle strings lurking in the background, enhancing his picked guitar. It’s the perfect song to open the album. The song gives way and we’re straight into Was I The Only One. No prizes for guessing what this song is about. This is where we start to see a pattern emerging.
Brue’s songwriting ability is out of this world. Second to none. It’s hard to praise him without being patronising about his age. But how does a 16-year-old do it? The lyrics, compositions and chord sequences are truly brilliant. He displays an impressive level of maturity, as he sings about heartbreak, jealousy, religion and suicide from a teenage perspective. Brue also combines a multitude of musical styles, from country to crooner; power pop and troubadour.
I’m Not Your Man and I Never Said are more evidence that Brue is a thoughtful and passionate songwriter. And we’re only four songs in. However, it’s not all soul-searching via an acoustic guitar. Covered In Blood is fast and energetic, and the distorted electric guitar acts as a nice interlude from the more traditional Midwestern songs.
I Am Nice is a solid debut record, no doubt about it. There’s not much more to say then this is a must listen. Don’t be put off by the lyrical content and the singer’s age. He might be young and lacking in life experience, but the way Brue tackles the issues in these songs is unique and brilliant.
Verdict: A remarkable set of songs