Local Music: Sam England at Exeter Cavern

It’s nice to blog about something other than politics once in a while, so today I have for you a (very belated) write-up of a local artist I went to see at the Exeter Cavern on 6 October. I confess a slight bias as the whole thing was organised by my girlfriend, and also that my senses weren’t up to scratch, as I was full of both a cold and ‘Crafty Dan’s’ 13 Guns beer (which is excellent, by the way). There were two other acts on but I left early due to my aforementioned affliction.

To start with, I must urge you to go to Cavern if you are ever in Exeter for a night out. It’s a small venue but very intimate and much more interesting than the city’s other clubs. It is effectively an underground bar with one section for seating and the other for a stage and a dancefloor which can hold about 80-100 people. It specialises in ‘alternative’ nights, whether they be indie, folk, hip-hop or house. It’s a really good night and is definitely worth a visit.

So, to Sam England. Sam is a student at the University and writes folk music which flits between catchy and pensive. On the night he played solo using his acoustic for both the chord progressions and percussion, but on his EP ‘Red Skies’ he is joined by Christie Gardner who provides harmonies as well as various musicians to provide drums and electric guitar on certain tracks. I can’t help but be reminded of Iron and Wine by Sam’s breathy, baritone vocals, particularly when they are combined with Christie’s harmonies – the production and ambience really make me think of ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle’ and ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ in particular. What really stands out with Sam, however, is his aptitude for the guitar. He writes intricate guitar lines in various tunings which are very captivating and give his music an authentic folk style. It is very refreshing to hear in a music scene where ‘folk’ is too often symbolised by a guy with a beard hammering out Am, F and G chords on every track while making vague allusions to South-East Asia, and there are some genuinely interesting progressions which fans of folk music will enjoy.

So, I hope you enjoyed this brief departure from writing about the Labour Party (I did), and I encourage you to listen to Sam England on either the hyperlink I included earlier, Spotify or iTunes. Enjoy!

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The Condition of the Left in England

'A grotesque mixture of Enlightenment Liberalism, One-Nation Conservatism and Socialism.' Skeptic and linguaphile.

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