I first became aware of Sam Carter via his role in folk- rock (although a better description is probably rock-folk) band False Lights and their 2016 album 'Salvor'. False Lights headlined the final night at this year's Derby Folk Festival and based upon that performance I bought a ticket for tonight's solo show.

Whilst False Lights make have a great time electrifying, (or electrocuting) a number of trad. folk tunes tonight Sam who was named Best Newcomer at the 2010 Radio2 Folk Awards is flying solo playing tracks from his latest album 'How The City Sings'. The album reflects on his 10 year relationship with London, the city he recently left for the folkie-friendly city of Sheffield.

We get the exceptional guitar finger picking on 'Yellow Sign', and 'One Last Clue', other tracks demonstrate his virtuosity of the guitar and have a more rootsy-blues feel to them. Relationships figure strongly in the choice of songs in tonight's set, 'Lumpy's Lullaby' was written for his sister's pre-birth bump and is a charming song with a funny sing-along chorus, 'Our Kind of Harmony' for a friend's wedding, and 'From The South Bank to Soho' about the end of a relationship with a significant other and the city, “I have to let her go because I love her”, he sings.

There is also a darker side to his songs such as 'Dark Days' ,his contribution to the Sweet Liberties project 'One More River' which is the story of a very distant relative's move from slavery to freedom crossing the Atlantic and 'Waves and Tremors' written in the aftershocks of the 2010 Japanese earthquake.

Tonight Sam plays a selection from 'How The City Sings' and his first two solo albums 'The No Testament' and 'Keepsakes'. Sam has been described by Mike Harding as “One of the most gifted acoustic guitarists of his generation” and the guitar playing whether finger-picked or strummed is exceptional throughout, combined with his rich vocals and easy stage presence makes for a ear-pleasing combo. Another great night courtesy of Village Folk and a highly recommended exceptional singer-songwriter.

Alisdair Whyte

Sam Carter videos     http://samcartermusic.co.uk/video/

Village Folk are a “not for profit” organisation who do a wonderful job putting on a monthly show in Derby featuring some great folk, roots and acoustic musicians and raise money for a local charity. Please support your local music scene.

Photo from www.villagefolk.org