EP Premiere: Raw Folk & Fleeting Romance in Sam Small’s ‘Hazel’

Sam Small © 2017
Recommended If You Like: Bob Dylan, Iron and Wine

Acoustic music has an inherent tendency to feel raw and naked, but Sam Small’s debut EP feels all the more exposed: Humble and honest, Hazel is an intimate and timeless look at modern life through the eyes of a singer/songwriter and his faithful guitar.

Hazel - Sam Small

Hazel – Sam Small

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Sam Small’s Hazel, a five-song assortment of experience and observation. The record opens with a touching poetic outpouring of earnest love – “How Unlikely” sets a fitting stage for Small, who breaks down a relationship into four enchanting verses.

How unlikely did it seem when you stumbled in my dreams
And woke me up beyond the morning light
How unlikely did it seem when you took over my heart
And blinded me from the deepest of night
For the angels in your teeth are smiling
And the demons in my heart are gone
‘t seems a new day is dawning now
Seems a new day has come

In many ways, Hazel feels like a demo: It was recorded live and overdub-free in a single night, making it about as “authentic” as a record might get these days – but also leaving it bereft of even the teensiest glitz or glamour. Sam Small dedicates the EP, calling it a tribute to a “wildly magical woman” – Hazel – and it is with this knowledge in tow that we might experience his music as an encapsulation of a short-lived, but highly inspiring romance.

There’s something very quaint and beautiful in Small’s songs. After introducing the story with “How Unlikely,” he pulls us deeper with “Misty in the Morning,” capturing a moment of perfect warmth and joy, but tinging it with sadness – the inevitable knowledge that this too shall pass.

Sam Small © 2017

Sam Small © 2017

Though titular track “Hazel” may share emotion through dreamily metaphorical lenses, it is still a bare and true expression of love:

With her long legs holding her frame above the rocky ground
As her hair flowed on for days underneath the milky way
Time ceased to procreate as I counted each color in her eyes
One by one I found my way beyond a field of starry skies
Hazel won’t you stay with me tonight
I could use a trip to outer space
Hazel won’t you stay with me tonight
I’ll count your breaths along the way
All the way to ecstasy and back
High on the waves of your bouquet
Hazel won’t you stay with me tonight
Until the stars gently fade away
– “Hazel,” Sam Small

There’s a deep poignance in understanding that the spark between two lovers can and has been simmered down to five humble tunes, but what they lack in extravagance, they make up for in imagery: Small’s stories lead us from the moment the match was lit, to the second it fizzled into smoke. In the moments in-between lie enduring emotions and tales directly from the heart.

Don’t miss this embittered, starry-eyed artistry. Sam Small may be a new name, but his tale is classic; as old as time. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Hazel with Atwood Magazine as Sam Small provides his personal gude to the new EP.

Listen: ‘Hazel’ – Sam Small

:: Inside Hazel ::

Hazel - Sam Small

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How Unlikely

“How Unlikely” is the turbulence of changes of heart and season dressed up in whimsy with a pretty bow.

Misty in the Morning

“Misty in the Morning” is about locking time outside to bark for no one. Love has no ears for time.

Bittersweets

“Bittersweets” is a nibble of nostalgia. There isn’t any deep metaphor or anything to unpack. It’s just meant to be enjoyed like a piece of dark chocolate.

Hazel

I wrote “Hazel” as a birthday gift. Lyrically it is an ode steeped in magical realism. Musically it is a reflection of how much flamenco I was listening to at the time. I’d love to hear somebody record it in Spanish.

Uncertain

“Uncertain” is tongue-in-cheek anti-nostalgia about wanting she who does not want you.

— — — —

Hazel - Sam Small

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com