A couple Saturdays ago I was invited to attend a show referred to as “The End of the World Showcase”. This event was the first of 3 shows being promoted by Seattle’s own Crybaby Studios for their annual Seattle bands compilation album. Crybaby Studios is a recording studio/rehearsal place located in Capitol Hill, and according to their website, “provides Seattle with a very important creative space for musicians to develop their craft.” The evening’s showcase featured the bands Gerhardts, Sam Miller, Sad Face, and You.May.Die.In.The.Desert. I certainly expected to have a great time, but the experience I had this night turned out to be one of the greatest Seattle shows I have ever been a part of, it is also the night I was introduced to a uniquely talented musician named Sam Miller.
When Sam Miller and his band took to the stage I watched as he sat behind a keyboard while the flamboyantly dressed back-up singer/co-keyboardist stood on the opposite side of the stage and eagerly waited for the cue to begin. It is then that I wondered what sounds I was about to be introduced to. As soon as Sam started confidently pounding on the key board I knew it was going to be a memorable performance. When Sam started singing I couldn’t stop being amazed with how deep and beautiful the tone of his voice was. Not only was he able to sing in a deeper pitch than anyone I’ve ever heard in Seattle, but he was also fully able to hit the top notes effectively, this impressive vocal range of his set the stage for some very satisfying and dramatic crescendos in his set.
After his performance, I had the pleasure of talking with Sam in front of The Comet and found out that he is actually one of the in-house audio engineers at Crybaby Studios. I also found out that Sam is one of the many Seattle musicians I have met recently that are completely warm, funny, and don’t carry any hint of attitude or ego. When I asked him about his one of a kind rendition of the Rich Mullins classic, “Our God is an Awesome God” he had no problem chuckling about it and explaining to me his take on the song’s lyrics and how it just felt right in that moment to bombard the Capitol Hill crowd with such a bizarre song. Will the fire editor Andy Hackett later told Sam that his rendition of this song was, “one of the most punk rock things I’ve ever witnessed at a show.” Sam Miller has a commanding stage presence, he stands well over 6 feet tall and his humor and confidence while on stage is contagious. During one of his songs he actually took his electric guitar and used it to pound out the final notes on the key board.
The song I selected can be found on the 2012 Crybaby Studios annual compilation album. Here is a link where you can hear all of the tracks. The song starts with light and theatrical piano playing which quickly leads into Sam’s deep and dramatic vocals. Where I first started getting sucked into this song is when Sam elegantly sings the chorus, “you need to say it, you need to say it, you need to say it to someone.” Another notable detail about the song is that horns are perfectly added midway through. For me, the most exhilarating part of the song is the last 2 minutes. The music starts to crescendo and Sam’s voice begins to mirror this and eventually he is singing at the top of his range, but not to the point of screaming, just enough to move the song into a completely different plane of emotional landscape. When the song ends with, “When I die, I’ll take my soul with me and I will not be born again” it is the perfect ending for this beautifully dramatic and very theatrical song.
You can listen to Sam Miller’s “You Need to Hear It” at his bandcamp website.