Sam Green and The Time Machine – Making Music Down Under and Beyond
Sam Green’s varied and articulate, both verbally and musically, run from 2013 through 2018 stands out even in 2021. His songwriting reach extends far past his native Australian borders though he’s free, on more than one occasion, to express his innate affection for his homeland. He’s wisely employed Spotify to spread his music to every corner of the globe and the popular songs feature the platform offers reveals much about his body of work. He isn’t content to confine himself to one style, subject, or point of view, and mixes up the instrumental approach as well. There’s nothing pat or arbitrary about this; it is artistic expression in full flower and deserving of our attention.
Even listening to a few of the tracks illustrates his interest in musical exploration. It doesn’t need to manifest itself with sprawling songs and everything but the kitchen sink instrumental additions. Tracks such as “Have the Seasons Changed?”, “Carmella”, and “Your Heart is a Diamond” from 2013’s Players All Are We draw from a broad range of instrumental sounds. The first of these tracks is an acapella number. Green doesn’t really have the sort of pipes you’d normally associate with such a performance but acquits himself nicely. “Carmella” makes some unexpected choices in instrumentation, unusual percussion accompanied by accordion, that are nonetheless successful and give the song a lightly smoldering air. His singing has loose, easy going assurance many listeners will enjoy.
“Your Heart is a Diamond” delves into a time-tested guitar style and song structure. The lyrics rely on some venerable imagery and could have been a little more original. They possess enough individuality, however, to carry the day. His most recent release on Spotify, the ten track Ten Parts of the Journey, may be one of his strongest overall efforts. It opens with the especially affecting “I Carry the Load”, as superb an evocation of the classic country sound cut with a dash of the blues I’ve heard in recent memory. The lyrics have the feel of a work mining personal experience thanks to one of Green’s best vocals.
“One Pot Screamer” is another of the album’s highlights. This mixes in blues to a much greater degree than the first track and the whole package draws out an especially soulful singing performance. An impressive part of this track, for me, is how you never quite grasp what a one pot screamer is, and it doesn’t matter. He conveys it with such feeling it is impossible not to be swept away. The band sound he hits with “How We Live Our Lives” is another peak in Green’s discography. It strikes an easy pace for its four minute duration and the delicate weaving of organ, electric guitar, drums, and other lines coalesces into a compelling tapestry.
Songwriting this good and consistent is hard to come by. It’s likewise interesting work deeply keyed into the truth of our lives rather than concerning itself with transient desires. I hope you will keep coming back, over and over, to this fine songwriter’s music because I believe he will continue having something important to say for years to come.