Bangor based singer songwriter Sam Wickens is a relatively young man but he has already covered a lot of ground, musically speaking. A Chordblossom Kickstart finalist in 2017 he was picked up in 2018 to appear on Sky Arts Unsigned Heroes, overseen by legendary producer Tony Visconti and being mentored by Stuart Copeland, Nitin Sawhney and Imelda May. Wicken’s debut EP Send Me was a wonderful mix of soul, blues and folk influences.
Wickens never seems to stand still in terms of his musical output and his new track ‘Cliffside’ is testament to that. It opens as a dark and dreamy snyth-based poem, full of atmosphere and low soulful vocals. Just when you think that’s what you’re going to get for the next three minutes an acoustic guitar comes in, almost out of nowhere, and lifts this to a completely different level. Unexpectedly, you feel that you want to tap your feet – some restrained percussion joins in and the track seems to build incrementally as it progresses, with the mood shifting from deep and melancholy to light and uplifting. Great vocals, great playing and fantastic songwriting all combine in ‘Cliffside’ to create something that is different, unique and actually well worth paying close attention to.
Compare this track to other new material like the completely acoustic ‘Forest’ and you’ll get an idea of his versatility. A little cracker and one to add to playlists everywhere.