BBC Folk Awards 2010 – Winner of the Horizon Award for best newcomer
‘Clearly, to be able to play the guitar this well at such a young age means he’s sold his soul at the crossroads and will shortly be having a cup of fire tea and a brimstone scone with Hitler.’ Allgigs.co.uk
‘One of the most gifted acoustic guitarists of his generation’ Mike Harding, Radio 2
A startlingly perceptive and self-assured young singer and guitarist from the English midlands, Sam Carter has spent the last few years busily honing his craft both as a writer and performer, studying guitar with Martin Simpson and touring with Bellowhead whilst holding down his post as Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre.
’I have a feeling, and I’m not alone, that Sam Carter is going to be huge.’ Irish World
Armed with a ‘killer voice’ (Nitin Sawhney) and the ability to play his guitar ‘like a harp’ (Time Out), as well as an unerring ability to put his personal experiences into a wider perspective, the east London-based songsmith made his mark with his debut album ‘Keepsakes’ released August 2009.
‘There’s real talent budding here.’**** Independent on Sunday
Picking up from where the intricate guitar and ‘haunting’ (Eliza Carthy) storytelling of his EP ‘Here In The Ground’ (released April ’08 via Proper) left off, in August 2009 Sam released his debut album ‘Keepsakes’ on his own Captain Records. Keepsakes is a collection of ten songs of rare depth and detail that belie their author’s tender years. That’s not to say that it doesn’t pack a punch; Sam kicks the album into life with ‘Yellow Sign’ spitting a fiery tale of east end violence over breakneck and impossibly intricate fingerstyle guitar work.
‘An English acoustic virtuoso… reminiscent of John Martyn’ Guitarist
Elsewhere is a striking rendering of ‘Oh Dear, Rue The Day’, a traditional folk song and tale of romantic deceit and bitterness. Drums and acoustic bass pound as Sam’s visceral vocals set the scene and are matched in intensity by support from Bellowhead’s prodigious young fiddler Sam Sweeney.
‘Tunes like Taxi and Captain could well be the work of a great songwriter in the making.’ Guitar & Bass
The album closes in a headily reflective vein with ‘Spill Those Secrets’, a beautiful and heartrendingly fragile song where Sam’s tender voice and guitar are ushered towards the album’s final climactic moment by cello and piano:
‘Spill those secrets one at a time, come the morning they’ll be with mine’.
This final lyric features in the beautiful album artwork alongside a series of images of curious objects. At Sam’s request, fans sent him their very own keepsakes along with a note revealing their personal significance. The keepsakes were then photographed by the British Design and Art Direction award-winning Thom Atkinson ensuring that the audio and visual elements of the album work beautifully in tandem with the music.
‘The Young English folk singer and guitarist Sam Carter’s album debut Keepsakes is a surefire collectable’ Independent
Sam Carter’s album ‘Keepsakes’ was launched with a thirteen date UK tour in September/October 2009.
In November 2009 Sam received a nomination for the Horizon Award for best newcomer in the 2010 BBC Folk Awards. On February 1st, at the London award ceremony Sam Carter was announced as the winner of the 2010 Horizon Award. The award was presented to him by Nitin Sawhney with whom Sam had collaborated on the Aftershock project at London’s Southbank. He has since gone on to perform live across the world and performances have included Richard Thompson’s Meltdown Festival, major festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Festival in Canada and Bestival, and the EFDSS/Folk By The Oak project ‘Sweet Liberties’ which marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.