No doubt some of you may already be acquainted with the name Sam Airey and if not, that could all be about to change. Earning plaudits for his 2010 release – Season’s Change, the Welsh-born songsmith earned many a new fan thanks to the EP’s breakout single and BBC Wales ‘Song of the Year’, The Blackout.
With tours and dates supporting Willy Mason, Lucy Rose and Frank Turner since then, the spring release of A Marker and a Map couldn’t have come at a better time. With lead single, The Unlocking, Airey has stuck to his folk guns, whilst unsheathing a rousing energy thanks to his experimentation with elements of post-rock.
Based in Leeds, Airey has created a record born and bread in the White Rose county. Released on the cities own Hide and Seek records, the tight and uncluttered production is provided by former members and stalwarts of the West Yorkshire scene, iForward Russia!
Deftly showcasing the young singer/songwriters natural talent, at the heart of A Marker and a Map, The Window and To All the Pieces of the Puzzle, combine Airey’s effortless musicianship, with a touching vocal style reminiscent of how I would perceive a contemporary Nick Drake to sound – apologies to folk purists and the readers of Mojo for such a sacrilegious comparison.
Closing with the beautiful, Floodgates, Airey’s stripped back acoustic guitar is gradually joined by the tender refrains of a simple drum-beat and strings section, leading to an emotional and layered finale that shows the artist to have a wisdom and maturity way beyond his 23-years.
A short but astounding collection of songs, A Marker and a Map is easily capable of competing within the already saturated alt-folk market and one can only imagine what magic awaits when he finally unleashes a full length record.