Songs of Love CD release!
August 14, 2005
On Tuesday, August 16th, Songs of Love Foundation(with whom I am a staff writer) will release their first national fundraising CD. The disc will contain 11- inspirational country tunes, by artists like Vince Gill, LeAnne Rimes, and Kenny Rogers, along with "Destiny's Song," written for 11-year old Destiny Dyer, who is suffering with a bone disease(and whose video is currently #20 on GAC country countdown!) It will be available in all major music outlets(Best Buy, Border's, Target, etc.) All proceeds will go to help the Songs of Love Foundation continue the work with the "Medicine of Music," providing chronic and seriously ill children with personalized, one-of-a-kind songs to lift their spirits, and heal their souls. To learn more, please go to www.songsoflove.org
. Help support a great cause, and pick yourself up a copy!
Eno Pics Up
July 22, 2005
Pictures from the Festival for the Eno are now for viewing in the Photos section.
Local Gigs this week
July 12, 2005
I will be doing two Alexandria-local gigs this week. Wednesday night I will be at Steve Key's writer's night at Stella's resturant in Old Towne, Alexandria. I will be doing a set from 7:45-8:00pm. On Saturday night, I will be the featured performer at the Burke Presbyterian Coffeehouse Worship Service. I will be doing several songs during the service, and a mini-set after the service. Click on "Dates" for more information and addresses. Hope to see you there.
Eno River Show
July 5, 2005
Thanks to everyone who came to the Eno River Festival. Anna and I had a blast, and hope you enjoyed the show. Looks for pictures coming soon, and keep checking back for more Anna and Sam show dates.
July 2, 2005
I have come to realize that the heart of America is not necessarily in the big cities, where everything runs at super-speeds that Superman would gasp at, but in the small communities which make up this incredibly diverse nation. Such is the case in West Virginia, where I spent a week with a group from St. Columba's church in DC working to make life better for some wonderful folks. They have been going to WV for over 10 years, working with Heart and Hand Ministries in Philippi, WV. My workcrew and I spent the week working at the Brown residence, where we planned and built a wheelchair ramp for Mr. Martin and Mrs. Brenda Brown, two of the nicest people I have ever met. I must admit, my crew were work animals, digging, sawing, hammering, and screwing in 95+ temperatures everyday to create this work of art. Along the way, we were helped by the Brown grandchildren, Corey and Jordan(Mardell??) who helped us hammer in decking boards. And I will never forget Bill, Mrs. Brown's brother, who with his stories of meeting the Mormons, being a club bouncer, and riding stunt motorcycles, kept me entertained all week. The dollar store, Sheetz, Do-It-Best, everything was connected to help us get the job done. And at night, Camp Hope came alive with the sound of music, as I lead the group in singing, which was somewhat new to them, but was embraced with enthusiasm rarely seen by these eyes. Kudos to Jessie Murray for putting together a great week. May we always remember our friends who need our help, and never hesistate to lend a hand.
Running the Race
June 21, 2005
From June 10th-17th, I had the distinct honor of returning to the Kanuga Conference Center in Western North Carolina to lead music for the Junior Young People's conference. This marked my 7th year as musician, and what a wonderful group to play for. Aside from musical duties, I also was able to done my big glasses, hike up my pants, and host my favorite reality show. "The Tud." During the week, we explored the idea of running the race as a metaphor for our Christian journey, and what causes us to stop and keep running. Sadly, my own race at JYP was cut short by a death in my family, but the outpouring of support from that community helped me to remember the incredible cloud of witnesses we have helping us along our life's journey. Check out the pictures in the photo section. Hope to see you next year!
Who's got your back?
May 12, 2005
A fine question indeed, and one that was explored recently at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's Middle School Retreat, held at the beautiful(see photos) YMCA Camp Letts near Annapolis, MD. What a tremedous weekend. From the raising of enthusiastic voices in song, to the spontaneous, hour-long game of elbow tag, the weekend was filled with numerous moments of God's grace. Through movie clips and discussion, the participants looked at the idea of who has their back, who will help them up when they fall, who can they put their trust in. After hearing comments throughout the weekend, I continue to be impressed by the depth of the young people I meet in my travels, and the sincerity by which many express themselves. I smile when I think about the future. Thanks to Paul, Betsy, and the COY who conducted a wonderful and spirit-filled weekend.
Anna Hutto CD released
May 11, 2005
For those of you keeping up with the Anna Hutto production saga(Episode III has nothing on this,) the record is finally available! You can listen to clips, and place orders, at www.CDfreedom.com
. And for those first-timers here wondering, "Why is this guy promoting someone else's record?" I engineered, mixed, and co-produced the record, along with providing acoustic and electric guitar support. For more info on this incredible singer/songwriter, visit her website at www.annahutto.com
New Photos Posted
May 6, 2005
New photos of the Summit Celebration, Province III Pre-EYE, and Virginia Theological Seminary pickin' have been posted. Check 'em out!
That's no guitar there...
April 18, 2005
This past weekend, youth and adults from all over the mid-atlantic states, that make up the Episcopal Province III, came together at Shenendoah University to meet and prepare for their summer sojourn to the Episcopal Youth Event. I was honored to lead the music for this great event, and had the chance to live, play and worship with youth from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Deleware, and Washington, DC. Because EYE will be held in Berea, KY this year, I taught a primer on Appalachian and Bluegrass Music, and on Saturday was joined by two fine Seminary musicians for a Bluegrass concert(Sammy picked the banjo that night.) I also had the priveledge to share the stage with some very talented young people over the weekend, including Claire and Nate from WV, and Tucker and Jayce from VA. Thanks to countless number of adults and youth who planned and ran the weekend so smoothly. Have fun at EYE!
Eno River Festival Confirmed
April 13, 2005
As if the summer wasn't hot enough, I have just confirmed that myself and Anna Hutto will be appearing at the Festival for the Eno this July 4th. We are working on filling out the stage with a full band, so the sound will be outstanding. Tickets go on sale May 1st, visit www.enoriver.org/festival
for more information.
Anna Hutto project complete
April 13, 2005
The new album from Anna Hutto, "Welcome Here," is now mastered and at the duplication house. I had the privilege of co-producing, engineering, and mixing this fine record, and even played a little guitar here and there. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined, and I am honored to have been given the chance to work on it. There is still a chance to pre-order, and receive a free gift. Visit www.annahutto.com
for more information.
Pierce Pettis Update
March 31, 2005
The April 10th Pierce Pettis show is now open to the public free of charge! I will be opening the show at 7:30pm, and Pierce will take the stage at 8:00pm. Hope to see you there for this fantastic event.
March 27, 2005
To all my friends and wonderful supporters, I wish you a wonderful Eastertide season, and wish you renewed hope in your lives through the joy and mystery of the ressurection to new life.
March 24, 2005
The Green Bean show on April 29th has been cancelled due to double booking. Check back for possible alternate venue.
Obey Your Thirst
March 22, 2005
Never let it be said that the youth of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana can't come up with an intriguing, and media-based retreat theme. At Solomon Conference Center, right in the heart of bustling Robert, LA, I spent this past weekend leading music for the Jr. High Rally retreat, about 100 kids and adults from all across Louisiana, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Rarely have I stumbled across such energy in a group, they could sing! Throughout the weekend, Keynoter Aimee Bostwick had us ponder the idea of "Obeying our thirst(not for Sprite)" for Love, Belonging, Joy, and God. And of course, there was the mandatory Jr. High antics, complete with a staff hunt, four-square(I was bitterly defeated many times,) and coffeehouse/variety show. A great weekend spent with a great group of people, and what a treat to lead music for a group that truly "thirsted" for it. Thanks to Mike Nieto and Rene Marse for coordinating such a wonderful event.
Pierce Pettis and...Sam Hensley??
March 22, 2005
Not a typo, I am going to be opening for the very talented singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis for the new Kerygma(don't ask me, it's Greek) Artist Series at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. This show was private, but has now been opened up to the greater USA area. General admission tickets are $10, and will be available at the door. I'll be playing about 25 minutes, and then Pierce Pettis will take the stage in what is sure to be an incredible night. Definately worth the road trip. Click on the "Dates" link for more information.
A league of their own...
March 7, 2005
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington held their annual Senior High retreat this weekend in Edgewater, MD, and for the second year in a row, I was honored to be the music coordinator. What an incredible group, no where else in the country do I see such racial diversity. Kids from all over DC and Maryland came together to raise their voices in song, opinion and worship. Open forum topics gave everyone a chance to use their voice to express their views on controversial youth issues, and the participants learned that their voice is a powerful part of themselves, and to use it to speak for those things they believe in. And they believe in plenty, homemade buttons expressed their concern for hunger, those who have no voice, dignity, etc. And the coffeehouse on Saturday night also gave a chance for voices to be heard, with poetry that melted my heart, a step show, skits, songs, monologues and a rap performance where I was honored to hold down the acoustic groove. A great weekend, kudos to Paul Canady, Betsy Gonzales, the C.O.Y, and everyone who made it what it was.
From the co-producer chair...
March 2, 2005
Every once in a while, it is nice to stretch your wings in a new musical capacity. Such has been the case for the past 4 months, working on Atlanta singer/songwriter Anna Hutto's new record, "Welcome Here." To catch everyone up, Anna and I met this past summer at Kanuga Conference Center in the mountains of NC, and after some discussion and prayer, we decided to join together to make her first record in over 10 years. We had our first session at The Basement studios in Greensboro, NC in November of last year, and then came together this past week to finish tracking work. And all I can say is wow. The record is 11 tracks of beautiful flavors, drawing from the pop, bluegrass, country, and folk backgrounds, showcasing Anna's incredibly strong sense of lyrics, her melodic mastery, and soaring vocal ability. She is backed by an arsenal of incredible session players, including former Sixpence None the Richer percussionist Dale Baker, Eastern Music Festival Director Tom Philion on Bass, Nashville's Brandon Gunter on backing vocals, and Dallas, Texas native Oliver Butler laying Dobro. The record should be released in late April. For more information on this wonderful singer/songwriter/person, check out www.annahutto.com
A return to the Summit
February 18, 2005
I hope that in your life, you can find a place that, when you return to it after time away, it still feels right. This is what The Summit Episcopal Conference Center is for me. Nestled away in Brown Summit, NC, I spent some of my prime growing up time at this center. Now, I come back ever so often to lead music at the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina youth retreats. Such was the case last weekend at the Winter Senior High Conference. Through the keynote of Fred Lowry, presentations by Kathy Pfister, and small group discussion, the group of 70 high school and adult participants wrestled with the idea of what it means to be "Christ-like." It was a very warm and wonderful homecoming, back in front of a group where I knew almost every face. I was honored to be joined in musical merriment by Chris Courtright on bass and guitar(not at the same time) and brother Drew on Djembe/Congas(at the same time.) Thanks also to Don and Ren for your musical hands. The atmosphere was lively, and the disc golf, well, always educational. Thanks to all those who were there, I look forward to seeing you again in April as we celebrate that sacred space.
February 15, 2005
The concert with Anna Hutto at the Paramount Theater in Burlington, NC on March 25th has been cancelled. Sorry folks.
Beg the Sky is back!
February 8, 2005
For everyone who has been asking, "does Sam have any other CD's?", the answer is "YES!"...again. You can now get your own copy of Beg the Sky, my first solo recording, and stop borrowing your neighbors ragged one with the hole in it. The down side: It will be a burned copy(but I'm burning it, and getting the proceeds, so it's okay), but(the up side!) it will have the original, jewel case-free packaging with lyrics and liner notes. The cost, only $7.00. Check out the product page for more info. This is a limited time offer, act now, operators are standing by!!!
From the homefront...
February 4, 2005
Greetings from the snowy north. We've had three weeks of winter wonderland on the ground, and I couldn't be happier, just ask my snowman(pictures to come soon). Enjoying a few weeks at home, preparing for a few weeks away. But it has been a rejuvinating and promising time. Work continues on the new record from Atlanta singer/songwriter Anna Hutto. A great mix of folk, pop, and bluegrass, her vocal ability and sense of lyric and style create an amazing sound. We are hoping for a late spring release, and looking to share some stage down the line(see below). Also continuing to find my way in the DC area, networking with local songwriters through the efforts of Steve Key, local writers night host and super nice guy. I have also been offered a place at this year's Festival for the Eno, NC best acoustic music festival, check back soon for more information. I have also posted a few more pictures from past events.
Just a heads up, get your tickets now for the Project Stepping Stone/Victory Junction Gang benefit, to be held March 25th in Burlington, NC at the Paramount Theater. Anna Hutto will be joining me for this show, we'll be opening for Chapel Hill's Memphis, the Band. All proceeds will go to help build the Victory Junction Gang camp, a camp for kids with disabilities, started by NASCAR's legendary Petty Family. Tickets are $20, and it is for charity. See the Tour Page for information. And as Porky Pig would say, bedebedebede, that's all, folks!
New Song Posted
January 21, 2005
A live version of the ever popular "Sunflower Land" from Winterlight 28 is now available for listen and download in the music section. More live and unreleased tracks to be posted in the future.
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NC Mountains...Oh how I miss you
January 17, 2005
Greetings, and welcome back to Winter. Finally, after weeks of above average temperatures which make you think, "Maybe we should pay attention to this Global Warming thing," winter arrived again, just in time for skiing on the monster of all ski times, MLK Jr. weekend. I traveled for the sixth year with the Diocese of West Tennessee to Valle Crucis, NC (translated Vale of the Cross) for a weekend of skiing, fellowship, and "temporary experimentation in community." The Diocese of West Tennessee is like a second home to me, as I work many of their yearly youth events, and it was wonderful to see and be greeted by so many familiar faces. After a rousing group sing on Saturday, we skiied Appalachian(Apple-at-chin) ski mountain, then Sugar Mountain on Sunday, followed by a Eucharist and a concert with myself and friend and music wonder-talent Mike Peterson. As we were leaving Sunday night, it began to snow, always magical and wonderful to feel and watch. Wish we could have stayed to play some more. A great weekend, a great chance to be back in the mountains of NC, some of the most beautiful land in the world. Oh, how I miss you.