A cathartic and vulnerable outpouring of heartfelt songs with a heartland sound, Sam Weber’s new LP ‘Get Free’ is as much a record of stillness as it is one of movement.
Stream: “Here’s to the Future” – Sam Weber
I called the record ‘Get Free’ because each performance of each song was a moment of transcendence and an escape for us from an otherwise odd, restrictive time
At a point when the future felt so uncertain, Sam Weber was focused on making the most out of his present: Reflecting on where he was and how he’d got there, who he’d been and who he was becoming, all while making the most with what he had, finding new ways to connect and collaborate despite the obstacles.
Life is constantly pushing us forward, yet on Get Free, the singer/songwriter lets himself pause for awhile, creating a welcoming space for reflection and observation where the past and future gently melt into one with the here and the now.
My girl got engaged to some guy
before she even knew my name
I’ve been trying to live my life out anyway
So I’m gonna spend the rest of my years
shacking up with my regrets
‘Cause I didn’t come out swinging
like a real dead ringer on the chapel steps
But it all comes to light, how we feel
I can’t keep a secret babe but I’ll make you a deal
When it all comes to light, over time
Truth or lie
– “Truth or Lie,” Sam Weber
Released February 4, 2022 via Sonic Unyon Records, Get Free is as much a record of stillness as it is one of movement and growth: A cathartic and vulnerable outpouring of heartfelt songs with a heartland sound. Sam Weber’s fifth LP follows 2019’s Everything Comes True, a powerful album in its own right that found the Canadian artist eulogizing his father (renowned Canadian architect Bill Weber), who passed from cancer in June of that year.
Whereas his last album tackled themes of family, legacy, love, grief, and home life, Get Free has the look and feel of a record inspired by living in the moment and reckoning with change, in all its many colors – and considering Weber had just moved to Los Angeles shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in 2020, his life was certainly “in motion” before it was forced to slow. Written largely prior to California’s lockdowns, but recorded and produced entirely during the pandemic, Get Free is an unfiltered collection of narratives, both personal and otherwise, showcasing Weber’s vivid storytelling and highlighting the power of human connection, empathy, and understanding.
Musically, Get Free is a rich listen imbued with folk, rock, pop, and even some jazz influences along the way. The journey from opener “Truth or Lie” to the smoldering, expansive finale “Streets of L.A.” is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, and yet Get Free is an undeniably cohesive, charmingly warm adventure. Weber made a pod with his partner Mallory Hauser and their friend Danny Austin-Manning, and together the three musicians tastefully build out a world for his music to breathe and take on a life of its own.
One day we run out of time
Nothing good about it but it’s not unkind
World spins out upon a dime while the second line is playing
I’ll be glad when my time comes
Glad I made it out of these pretentious slums
Don’t cry for me if the deed is done there’s nothing more worth saying
Don’t cry for me I’m halfway gone I’ll never get free trying to make sense to you
– “Don’t Cry for Me,” Sam Weber
“Danny would come over and the three of us would turn on the microphones and give these wild, unchained performances of the material,” Weber explains. “The songs became as much about the experience and ritual of spending time together as the content in the lyrics. I called the record Get Free because each performance of each song was a moment of transcendence and an escape for us from an otherwise odd, restrictive time.”
Additional collaborations (full list here) transform what could have been a very isolated creative experience into one full of character, in both a metaphorical and literal sense. “I think since we laid such a human foundation — me, Mal, and Dan — it gave each song a strong identity, and it became really clear what needed to happen and who we should ask to be involved remotely,” Weber adds.
Highlights abound, from the record’s two powerful bookends to the stirring rock grooves and gentle harmonies of “Already Know,” to the unapologetic reflections and churning fervor within “Survival.” Songs like “Don’t Cry for Me,” “Nowhere Bound,” and “Everyone” bring out Weber’s softer side, whilst the cutting “Money” rises with striking fuzzed-out guitars front-and-center and cascading riffs, like little sonic waterfalls, gleaming all around.
All of my friends gotta turn the page
Give up the the dream and learn to act their age
Live their lives to see their wives and kids
So strange old ghosts like me don’t get a glimpse
Since they left my whole lens went fuzzy
Use to make time now we just make money
Used to write songs, now we just write cheques
Used to look inside, to figure out what’s next
Used to feel strong now I just feel slow
Used to belong to someone long ago
– “Money,” Sam Weber
Whether you take it all in at once or listen piecemeal, Get Free burns bright as Weber channels a sense of motion and stillness, turbulence and tranquility, together as one.
These otherwise polar opposites seem to coalesce on a record that succeeds at capturing the little details of our everyday movements, rendered through a lens of solitude and deep introspection. One might argue you always have to take one step back in order to take two steps forward, but no one ever talked about walking in both directions at once – let alone doing so gracefully!
That’s all a testament to Sam Weber’s brilliant songwriting, and the magic sparks he cultivated in each of these ten tracks. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Sam Weber’s Get Free with Atwood Magazine as the singer/songwriter goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his fifth LP!
All this sadness, all life’s lessons,
These confessional songs we sing
Lead me higher to salvation
Cheers to all the future brings
– “Here’s to the Future,” Sam Weber
:: stream/purchase Get Free here ::
Stream: ‘Get Free’ – Sam Weber
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TRUTH OR LIE
“Truth or Lie” is a reminder that despite anyone’s attempt to control a narrative or manipulate our perception of how things are, the truth and what is real always comes out. This was the first song we recorded for this collection and inspired us to continue making music more at home than I’d ever done before. It started in Tyler Chester’s garage with me and Mal at 4am one night. Griffin from Dawes played some beautiful percussion on it and it was pretty much done after that!
“‘Already Know” started as a very traditional song, kind of a waltz acoustic guitar thing that wasn’t really much of anything. But I liked the lyrics a lot and when I played it for Mallory [Hauser, co-producer], her instinct was to stretch it out into straight time with these free time sections. Once I figured out a new way to sing it, the song came together in a really beautiful way. It’s not a total Paul Simon diss-track, but the last verse does discuss the rumour of him stealing the idea for “The Myth of Fingerprints” from Los Lobos.
GET OUT OF THE GAME
I recently experienced my first real bout of career doubt. “Get Out Of The Game” is about quitting everything and trying something else. Didn’t do it this time.
DON’T CRY FOR ME
When my dad passed, somehow I got his iPad and it had all these videos of him playing saxophone on it. We needed something different to happen in the middle of this song to break up all the verses and introduce a new spirit, so we ripped the audio from one of his videos and dropped it in and voila! The video we used is of him playing the melody to a famous jazz standard. If anyone can pick out what standard it is, let me know!
The recording of “Survival” that ended up on Get Free is one of the most unchained performances I think I’ve participated in. Sometimes when I play music with Dan and Mal, it feels like as much a kinaesthetic game as a musical practice. Like emotions and reaction time combusting together to form something equal parts loosely coherent and wildly chaotic. Cacophonous! And physical! In this recording I think we hold it together just enough to get the point across. The lyrics are my stories.
“Nowhere Bound” is a stream of consciousness song that came to me in a time of real pain. Sometimes the lowest places make me want to sit in the shade of my reality – to shove off any lifelines and just sit inside the sadness I’m feeling. Initially it was a piano ballad but Mallory Hauser put a different lens on the whole piece musically speaking – the emotion and ambience of the song lives a lot closer to the lyric now.
HERE’S TO THE FUTURE
“Every album cycle brings one song that cuts me right to the core. Like a three year cross-section of every complex life moment laid bare in the simplest words. Through confronting my deepest, heaviest truths through these songs I am able to see the world in a new way. ‘Here’s to the Future’ was that song for me, but also a toast and a prayer to the better and brighter days ahead.”
‘Money’ is about the effect of currency, and an attempt to acknowledge how people’s lives all move in different directions. What I do in a professional capacity exempts me from the responsibilities that other people my age are beholden to, in some ways I feel very free, but in other ways I feel very lonely watching other peoples’ lives unfold, like I’m stuck in the same place.”
“Everyone” is a companion piece to “Money”. I feel like I’m constantly chasing a true, linear, concise way of being or reacting, when in reality there is no generality either broad or precise enough to accommodate all the twists of life. When I feel like I’m closing in on a simple solution, the flaws in my thinking reveal themselves. To that point, I think the lyrics are pretty explanatory – “just when we begin to understand, someone has to go and change the plan”.
STREETS OF LA
“Streets of LA? started as an iPhone video of a jam with Mallory, Tejas and Danny in our friend Tyler’s garage. Before the pandemic times we used to congregate there to play music very quietly well into the night – often after attending a show earlier in the evening and still buzzing from being inspired. I had the main descending melody in my head for a few months, but the context of playing it with those people specifically really clarified the spirit of it. When we went to track it, I played the video for Danny and Mallory and they reincarnated that spirit perfectly in a few takes.
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