The album has an intimacy that gives even the most despairing songs an intangible joy.
Lucy Davies 2009
Sam Lewis’s debut album Everything You Are was written while he was on tour as guitarist of K T Tunstall’s band. And you can hear it. There’s simplicity in the instrumentation, easily performed anywhere, with a location-less stripped down honesty hitting both words and music.
Opening track Ups and Down seems to establish Lewis as a traditional blues musician. It has all the elements; repeated octaves on piano, wailing harmonica, bottleneck guitar and a chorus about a woman who's so hard to please.
Then again Another Lifetime, in all its lap-steel guitar stillness shows him to have a voice with a deep lazy sonority, dropping off the ends of phrases in a similar manner to Jack Johnson. But it would be unfair to file him under the same category of that chirrupy surfer-songwriter. His is a spacious sound with timeless poetry, bringing to mind Ben Harper, Bon Iver or Iron and Wine.
Both Another Lifetime and Cursed Love feature unusually sleepy backing vocals from K T Tunstall, and Tunstall joins him again on the lush, warm duet Leonard which opens out into a sunny waltz underpinned by brushed snare and lap steel.
Pictures In My Mind surprises in its Richard Hawley-like Englishness. Title track Everything You Are mooches along nicely, with a philosophical bent along with some class blues guitar playing plus a novel method of ending a song.
It's all been recorded in the most beautiful manner. Each string plucked, each note played on the upright piano, has an intimacy that gives even the most despairing songs an intangible joy.