Sam Phelps

REVIEW: Sam Phelps “Hunter Springs Road”


Sam Phelps – Hunter Springs Road EP (Self-Released)

Sam Phelps turned to some pretty relevant themes of the past year for inspiration behind his latest four-song EP, singing about loneliness, restlessness and being homesick. He manages to flawlessly capture each feeling on Hunter Springs Road with a relatability that is as sad as it is beautiful.

The Kentucky singer/songwriter, now living in New York, turned to musicians turned producer Chance McCoy (formerly with Old Crow Medicine Show) to help accurately capture the melancholy of these tracks. The EP title takes its name from the street that houses McCoy’s West Virginia studio.

The opening track, “Leavin” gives a good intro to what’s to follow, Phelp’s deep, strong vocals over subtle acoustic picking and minimal backing music leaving little to distract from the emotionally heavy lyrics. You can almost hear his voice quivering at times on that opening track. “New York Newsstand Blues,” with touches of slide guitar and harmonica, is an outlier of sorts among these four-songs, but a charming track none the less.

“Kentucky,” about Phelps home state – the good and bad – offers some of his best lyrics yet. Born and raised in Pulaski County, Kentucky, he started playing guitar at 13 years old, inspired by hearing Steve Earle for the first time. And appropriately enough, Earle’s influences can be heard though out this EP with its honest, heart on the sleeve emotions front and center.

The album closes on “Stand Up Guy,” lyrics about restlessness backed by a finger picked acoustic guitar and fiddle, courtesy of McCoy (McCoy also provides drums, bass, banjo, mandolin, electric guitar and harmonies on the record). Both are joined by guitarist Laur Joamets. At just four songs, the Hunter Springs Road EP may be brief, but it’s a strong introduction and hopefully a promise of what’s to come.

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