Sam Robbins’ debut record, Finally Feeling Young, is a reason to celebrate. It is evidence that all of the great music is not necessarily found in the past. He is a singer/songwriter in a classic sense; through his songs, crafted in precise honesty, he allows us to understand our own lives a little more clearly. His songs have the ability to instantly connect with and speak to our hearts. He has created a collection of songs that benefit from their relationship to each other. This is a bona fide album in the classic sense. The songs connect, shadow, and reverberate with each other to create an atmosphere and an emotional narrative.
Robbins’ vocals and perspective transform as the album arcs from beginning to end. His ongoing transformation is subtle, but it allows Robbins to pay homage to a few of the singer/songwriters of previous eras (James Taylor, Paul Simon, Jim Croce, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen…) It’s highly esteemed company, and Robbins should be praised for aiming so high. Surely there is an audience that appreciates the long-lost art of the classic American poet balladeers.
Listening to Finally Feeling Young is a truly enjoyable experience. Robbins’ vocal range is impressive. His voice is fragile at the right moments, yet sturdy throughout. It is spontaneous, focused, and conveys the moment when a songwriter is inspired to set words to music. My personal favorite track is “New,” a simple yet deeply revealing look back at young love. Robbins’ dramatic orchestration of the piano-driven piece is simply gorgeous. Robbins is agreeable in all of the best ways. Here’s to much more from this guy, and may he be brave enough to continue sharing the authenticity.
The stellar musicians on the album include: Sam Robbins (vocals/acoustic/electric guitars/ukulele), Cole Szilagyi (guitar), Julie Papili & Victor Pacek (bass), Neil Jones (pedal steel), Max Chester (piano), Maxfield Anderson (mandolin), & Alex Stradal (cello). The album was produced by Alex Fansel (drums/synths/keys).