Sunday, November 12, 2017

Coffeehouse presents Sam Creigh


On Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 7 p.m., Coffeehouse at the Unitarian Universalist Church will present Sam Creigh.

www.vermontjournal.com


THE OFFICIAL SAM CREIGH BIO

The Man. "Music is still the most effective way to get your message out to the greatest number of people," says singer/songwriter Sam Creigh, "but you can't overdo it, because music really isn't about messages--it's more about having fun and providing a brief moment of time for performers and audiences to connect and to escape for awhile."

A resident of Springfield, Vermont for the last 21 years, Sam has honed his solo artist singing and guitar-playing skills on the stages of festivals, farmer's markets, taverns, and ski lodges throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota. In fact, the summer of 2008 will mark Sam's seventh season of performing in the lake country of west central Minnesota--"following the tourist season," as Sam says. His original songs are country-folk painted portraits of people and their relationships with each other and with the land of rural America. His song list also includes many covers of a veritable who's who of popular songwriters.

Sam grew up in the country. His family owned a cattle ranch in Nebraska and cattle feed lots in Kansas and Arizona. His musical roots began to take hold in Tucson in the 1970's, where he played guitar and bass in several local country rock and Western swing bands. In 1976, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the Shire Brothers, forming a trio who performed mostly original music. On the side, he built and operated an 8-track demo studio in an upstairs office on Hollywood Boulevard, and eventually merged that business with a video company. He also co-produced vocalist Terri Owens in the early '80s with friend and Shire Brother Dean MacDougall.

After marrying in 1983, Sam and his wife Vivian set their sights on rural Vermont and moved to a small farm there in 1987 to raise two sons and a daughter. It wasn't long before Sam picked up his Martin guitar and began his career as a solo performer. After reading Jack Herer's The Emperor Wears No Clothes , Sam began, in the true folksinger tradition, to bring forward his opposition to the global corporate special interests and their stranglehold on the peoples, governments, and agricultures of the world. His political and musical voices united in a protest song promoting the repeal of the prohibition on the hemp plant. "The Hemp Song" became a staple of his live performances and is still a favorite among the locals. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Vermont Senate in 1996 as an advocate for the legalization of industrial hemp farming. As genetically-modified organisms began to infiltrate the farmlands and food supply of North America in the late '90s, Sam spoke out against them and the corporations promoting them, even testifying before the Vermont Senate Agricultural Committee. The recently-penned "Seeds of the Earth (The Ballad of Percy Schmeiser)" chronicles the on-going battle between war chemical agribusiness giant Monsanto and Canada's most famous modern-day folk hero and canola farmer. "Every folksinger worth his salt has to have a protest song," Sam is fond of saying.

The Music. But protest songs are by no means what Sam Creigh is all about. His album, "Green Mountain Flyer", is a musically-eclectic look at people and life. These original songs have sprouted from the roots of all the great songs that Sam listened to and grew up with. The album itself most likely began with a stop at the Brockways Mills Gorge railroad crossing in Rockingham, Vermont. Sam was conducting a sight-seeing tour for his brother-in-law, Tom Poley, a fellow musician and banjo picker. As the train passed, Sam told the story of the Green Mountain Flyer. The song was born, and it is still the most recognized and most requested song that Sam performs. It also receives a great deal of airplay on the local artist shows that many of the area radio stations sponsor. With the assistance of fellow musician and computer whiz Keith Mackler, Sam launched his official website, www.samcreigh.com, in 2001 and soon got his high school buddy, Terry MacDonald, to write, edit, and voice the 60-second promo MP3 that appears at the head of page one.

"Old Country Road" is a new interpretation of a very old theme in country and folk music. "Whiskey Wind" is about a homeless Vietnam War vet who Sam met on the streets of Hollywood. "Tumbleweed Roll" is a song about freedom, but with a connection to the Great Plains and Sam's past. "Vivian's Song" was written for his wife, as was the jazzy "Basking In The Afterglow Of Your Love." And "Clone Me" is the album's novelty tune. "Damiana" was co-written by Sam and his old buddy Tom Binnion. The songs were tested over time on audiences at Sam's local gigs.

When it was time to record them, Sam called on several musical friends all around the country, many of whom were already familiar with the songs, to get together for a down-home "pickin' on the front porch" vibe for the album, which was recorded and mixed on an ADAT system at Bryce Chicoine's BCM Studios in Claremont, New Hampshire. Bryce also laid down the percussion tracks. This format allowed Sam to send a tape to his friend Tom Kusian in Tucson, Arizona, where the banjo track and several guitar tracks were added at Tom's home studio. Pete Everts flew out East from Battle Lake, Minnesota to play harmonica. Linda Allen and Mick Leonard drove up from Stamford, Connecticut to sing backgrounds and play guitar and mandolin.


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