We’re Going to Philly to Hear a Song About a Missing Leg.
Well, we’re also going to Philly
to play a concert.
Let us explain:
Last November, we left the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference in Stamford, CT with 15 new CDs in our car. For the past 3 days, we’d been running through a Stamford hotel at ungodly hours of the late night & early morning, meeting new friends, hearing great songs, and exchanging albums with musicians with whom we fell in love.
(Yeah, folk conferences are actually NUTS, you guys).
In an effort to stay awake on our 2 hour drive home (after getting no sleep for 3 days), we decided to pop some of the albums we’d picked up into the CD player. The first one in was “Words, Words, Words” by Sam Steffen.
We never put on a second album.
The first song was so familiar, I looked at Eric and said, “Have we seen him play before?” he replied sleepily, “Well, we saw him play at 2am Saturday.” I laughed. I didn’t remember that, honestly, but I just felt like I knew Sam after hearing one song.
Maybe it’s because he sounds so much like Dylan.
Maybe it’s because he kinda writes like Dylan, too.
Long verses, each with some surprising hook right at the end.
Like the punchline to a perfectly set-up joke.
He starts complaining in the first song…
Rooster’s in the henhouse with his feather’s all mussed
the hay-barn is burning and the milk’s gone sour
It’s harvesting time, but the whole crop’s a bust
And that’s the third thunderstrike I’ve heard in the past half-hour
Been up for three days in a drippin cold-sweat
I called for a doctor and they sent me a vet
I’m losing my livelihood along with a bet
and I ain’t even had my coffee yet.
– Sam Steffen “I Aint Even Had My Coffee Yet” [listen]
Four more unapologetically long verses with that same punchline at the end, and I was cracking up. I was also thinking, “Damn, I wish I could write a song that good.”
Some folks just… have it, you know?
And then the second song came on.
A sweet guitar line and lilting melody sings,
The way that an amputee misses his limb
After the doctor has sawn it from him
Leaving him only the scar of his skin
With which he must try to adapt …
“Wait, what? Where the heck is he going with this…” I wondered.
I also was completely hooked.
… Or the way that a jury can believe what it wants
having just received all of the facts.
I miss you. Honey, I miss you — like that.
– Sam Steffen, “Like That” [listen here]
You know when a song just shoots you right through the heart?
Sam Steffen has something so natural that all of us songwriters work hard for:
A way to say something,
That it just works.
When we were invited to come back to Philly to play a show at The Living Room at 35 East, we asked Sam, a Philadelphia local, if he’d do us the great honor of joining us.
and he said, Yeah!
And so we’re so happy to be returning to Philly next weekend to play a concert with Sam Steffen. We really can’t wait to play in such an intimate listening room and we’re equally looking forward to hearing some more of Sam’s amazing songs.
It should be a really special night.