Chris Samson has been singing, playing guitar and writing songs for more than 40 years. His debut CD, "In My Own Time," showcases 14 of his original songs, recorded with some of the top musicians in Northern California, including guitarist Keith Allen (Steve Miller Band), violinist Al Garth (Eagles), harmonica player Bruce Kurnow (Mason Proffit), singer-pianist George Merrill (Boy Meets Girl) and trumpet player Peter Welker (Cold Blood), who also co-produced the CD. His second CD, “Another Day in Petaluma,” features 15 new songs and accompaniment by several of his musician friends in Sonoma County. Listen closely to his songs – from the intensely personal ballads like "Snakes and Dust" to the rollicking "Cold Weather Blues" to the stirring "Salvation Train" – and you'll hear a sound rooted in American folk, popular and traditional music.
NOTES FROM CHRIS ABOUT
"ANOTHER DAY IN PETALUMA" (2021)
When I finished recording my first CD of original songs (“In my Own Time”) in 2008, I thought it would be the only such musical compilation that I would complete in my lifetime. After all, the 14 songs on that CD represented virtually all of the songs that I had ever written.
But a few years later, I realized that I had enough new songs to merit another CD. I recorded guitar and vocal tracks for a handful of these songs in 2016, but it wasn’t until January 2020 that I resumed the recording sessions in earnest with the goal of finishing the project by the end of the year. Although the completion was pushed back to early 2021, I am excited to bring these songs to life and share them with you.
The title song, “Another Day in Petaluma,” is a love letter to the town where I have lived for more than 40 years. It’s a minor miracle that this project didn’t take longer than it did. Three months into 2020, the pandemic suddenly changed all of our lives. Consequently, the rest of this CD was finished under quarantine conditions.
This CD would not have been possible without the encouragement and expertise of my good friend Mike Radtke, who invited me to record at his Mikey’s Studio in Sonoma, Calif. Mike was also the sound engineer who recorded and mixed the songs, provided instrumental and vocal accompaniment to most of the songs and offered many invaluable suggestions during the recording process.
I am grateful to my talented musician friends in Sonoma County who contributed instrumental and vocal tracks. Most of them had to record their tracks at home because of the pandemic. Many thanks to musicians Steve Della Maggiora, Cheri Buonaguidi, Maury Manseau, Michael Capella, John Croizat, Paul Johnson, Stephen Tamborski and Gary Grubb.
I also appreciate the camaraderie, inspiration and support I received from two songwriting groups: The Stanley (Idaho) Songwriting Retreat in 2015 and the Sonoma Songwriters Group, which was started in 2018. Finally, I want to thank my partner, Jodi, for her suggestions and encouragement. I hope you enjoy these songs.
– Chris Samson, Petaluma, Calif.
NOTES FROM CHRIS'S BROTHER, RICH ABOUT
"IN MY OWN TIME" (2008)
It seems like only yesterday when Chris told me that he was learning to play the guitar. He was a senior in college, and over the next few years, he embarked on a series of adventurous road trips, including a three-month jaunt through Mexico. While there, he wrote an early version of "Reforma in the Rain (Lost in Mexico)."
Later, he headed east in a VW van. Those long drives through the Southwestern desert produced the introspective ballad "Sky." In Massachusetts, he rendezvoused with a onetime flame. The haunting "We Should Have Gone Away" looks back at the affair that might have taken a different path. "Leslie's Song" offers an upbeat, benevolent toast to a composite of former lovers.
From Cape Cod, he ventured north to Ontario, Canada. The moody "Sometime in the Winter" reflects more emotional suffering and lost love, while "Evening Sundown" suggests an elevation of personal awareness.
"The Beer Song" is a waltzing tribute to good brew and friendship. After Canada, Chris lived in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, where he composed some of his best music. "Salvation Train" is his stab at spiritual redemption, while "Snakes and Dust" was inspired by Jack Kerouac's novel, "Lonesome Traveler."
After a couple of years, Chris was lured to a 9-5 job as a newspaper reporter at Lake Tahoe. "Cold Weather, Broken Car, Infidelity Blues" is a parody of those cry-in-your-beer country tunes. The foot-stomping "Road to the West" embodies the spirit of his personal quests. Eventually, Chris settled in Petaluma, where he met his wife. "Song for Edy (We'll Get Through This)" is a lament for the loss of a life partner. It reflects the cycle of life and death with sadness, courage and acceptance. "In My Own Time" expresses a continually changing life and an ongoing search for individual truth.
Although it has taken many years to bring this first recording of original songs to fruition, it is a personal milestone and a major accomplishment of a gifted artist, confident enough to open his soul a bit and to share his music with the world. A treasure indeed.
- Rich Samson
"Chris' songwriting talents and folk background have landed him in the spotlight of a number of North Bay venues. His first self-produced CD of original tunes features his clear and genuine vocals and solid guitar playing. A crowd favorite, Chris' songs are always big on heart and meaning, and he's always good for some tunes that'll tweak your funny bones."
-- Larry Potts, award-winning singer-songwriter
"I met Chris on Cape Cod when he was traveling around America in his early 20s. He was then, as he is now, composed of three elements: a dry sense of humor, a sense of Swedish rectitude and an absolute passion for music. I always figured music was his real mistress, no matter whom he was with at the time."
-- Pete Ferry, writer, artist, philosopher (1932-1999)
"Chris and I were friends for a long time before I heard his music. When I listened to 'Salvation Train,' I was very impressed and suggested I write a horn part for it. When I heard his other songs, I encouraged him to make a full-blown CD of his songs and it became a fun musical partnership. His songs have an Americana feel. Some are light, fun and buoyant and others impart a poignant message."
-- Peter Welker, trumpet player, bandleader, arranger