NOD MY HEAD
Some songs need space and time to develop; they get released when they’re ready and not a moment before. This has been Sam Lambeth‘s experience with Nod My Head. It was a song written 15 years ago – one of the talented West Midlands singer-songwriter’s first, in fact – and one which has featured during several of the key events in his musical growth: his first rehearsal with his first band back in the late noughties, his Britain’s Got Talent audition (in 2014), and his performance in front of 25,000 football fans in his home town of Wolverhampton.
However, the time never felt quite right for Nod My Head to get the formal release treatment – that is, until now. Sam has drawn on the talent of The Four Chords, a band he formed in 2020, to give the song added depth, maturity and – above all – an unforgettably uplifting feel. It was a wise choice to let the song find its natural release point – the result of that patience is a song which is easily Sam’s best release yet.
As soon as the song opens, you find yourself nodding too. Those guitar chords feel immediately familiar – there’s an instant comforting warmth to the music which draws you in and pulls you along with Sam and the band.
Nod My Head is ridiculously catchy and very well put together, each element of the song interwoven to form a toe-tappingly jaunty number. There’s a subtle and welcome hint of nostalgia underneath the chirpiness, which belies the way Sam has drawn from a number of the key influences in his musical life (Van Morrison, Counting Crows, Paul Simon) and combined them with his own very genuine approach to songwriting.
This is a primarily acoustic song, with a lovely mandolin line in the mix with the rhythmical guitar underlay, as well as some great harmonica breaks and gorgeous electric guitar lines. It moves along at pace, holding your interest from start to final note. The fact that this song is recorded with a full band also means the vocals get an added boost with doo-wop style backing and some really effective harmonies.
Sam explains that he always thought of this song as his catchiest and “most immediate”, and it’s easy to see what he means. There is a directness in the way this song assails your ears, and a wonderful freshness and honesty. You can’t help but smile – it’s wholesome. This positive feel reflects something of Sam’s character, too. He is an incredibly self-effacing person: generous, charitable and really supportive of other independent musicians.
With this release, it feels like Sam is opening a new chapter of his musical journey, and it will be very interesting to see where this goes next.
Sam Lambeth released an EP (Love and Exile) in May 2021 and frequently gigs in the West Midlands and beyond. His next key date is a headline show at Deadwax in Birmingham on 18th March – tickets are available here.
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Words by Phil Taylor