By Jodi Brak
CALGARY – The stage has called alluringly to Sam Weber his entire life. Raised in a family of musicians, he has been jamming since he can remember anything.
His band’s first live show was at one a.m. on a Tuesday morning at a bar in Victoria; everyone performing was definitely underage. Thanks to this deeply embedded experience, it’s been a steady upwards climb for Weber and his compatriots, Marshall Wildman and Esme John. They released their second offering Valentina Nevada in 2016.
The group writes folk music from an honest place, with just enough rock influence to necessitate the use of electric guitars. Weber’s guitar prowess is definitely a selling point of the group, with salty little licks filling the breaths between verses. Grandiose solos punctuate the climax of many tunes. Despite the grandiosity, at its core, the group’s music is centred on minimalist folk.
“We don’t really like music that is too crowded, so we tend to strip it down,” Weber tells BeatRoute.
“It’s just a game of trying to find what fits, trying to make the songs work with the least moving parts possible. You want all those elements to have a voice within the context of the song.”
At times, their music is somehow simultaneously a simple folk song, and at others, an elaborate rock anthem. The subtle fuzz and twang of electric folk is ever present, accompanied by keys that drift from holding down quiet rhythms to plaintive lilting melodies. Each part to their composition is distinct yet sits together cohesively, with one piece rising to prominence at carefully selected moments. When the keys quiet down, a guitar solo rises to fill the space; as the screaming guitar falls silent, a melody narrates the hook back into the chorus.
This structure “just comes from being really true to the song, not overproducing and just representing the song really well without having one thing overshadowing what the essence of the song is,” Weber says.
“So we went into the Valentina Nevada record trying to do that, and I think we did.”
Valentina Nevada is the second LP released by the trio; following the 2014 release Shadows in the Road. Both projects were largely self-produced, and although the trio feel proud to have accomplished this much, they feel it’s time to bring some fresh ears into their future process.
“Something we learned from that project is I think we’ve gotten as much mileage as we can get out of self-producing,” Weber states.
“Now that we’ve really established what we’re all about, we want to find somebody that can help elevate it.”
Currently, Sam Weber is in the midst of a tour through Western Canada and the northern United States, still riding on the waves of their 2016 release. However, word is the end of this tour marks the beginning of serious work on their next project.
“The Valentina record, the songs that ended up working better were the ones that used a little bigger concepts, they were a little bit easier to walk around in. This one that I’m working on right now is very microscopic by comparison, smaller stories. It’s just stuff about how life just kind of keeps happening no matter what you are doing. It took me a while to find a way to articulate those things.”
Sam Weber will be playing August 10 at Tractorgrease (Chilliwack), The Ironwood Stage and Grill on August 11 (Calgary), and August 12 and 13 at the Wapiti Music Festival (Fernie).folk, rock, Sam Weber, The Ironwood Stage and Grill, Tractorgrease, Wapiti Music Festival