Louisville, Kentucky, singer-songwriter Sam Filiatreau looks like a typical middle-class white heterosexual young man looking for love and meaning in a big, clumsy old world. He doesn’t want to set the world on fire. Songs from his self-titled debut acoustic album modestly suggest that Filiatreau understands that life is bigger than him and his friends, but that’s all he really knows. He sticks to writing about his thoughts, feelings and experiences.
There are a lot of mini silences on the record. Filiatreau will frequently stop singing or playing in the middle of a line or verse and allow calm to reign for a brief moment before continuing. This gives the impression that the interpreter is thinking about what is being said or about the emotion being felt. Or maybe he’s just high. It does not matter. The effect is the same. Filiatreau’s performance allows the listener to identify with the personality of the song. We think and feel with it as part of the aesthetic process.
Therefore, the album has an intimate feel, which is further enhanced by the way it was created. Filiatreau recorded the album in three days with Caamp’s Taylor Meier (drums) and Matt Vinson (bass) in a cabin in the woods near Athens, Ohio. You can easily imagine the three guys hanging out and playing silly and playing instruments. Other musicians also arrived during this period. The friendly interaction between the musicians is clear, although Filiatreau is still in the lead.
The eight songs here take a total of about 23 minutes, the shortest (“Hold the Door”) just over a minute, the longest (“Fine By Me”) at 4:15. The brevity of the album contributes to its informal character. There is something relaxed and comfortable about the effort, especially on songs like “Ashes” and “El Camino” when the singer casually sings familiar lines like “They Can Kiss My Ass” and “You’ve Got You. look so mean in this El Camino “. It’s not a nerd thing. Vernacular expressions add to the authenticity of the lyrics.
There is no central theme in the disc. The songs are linked mainly by the voice and the acoustic accompaniment of Filiatreau. In a somewhat ironic sense, what sets this album apart is that there is nothing boast about it. The style has its roots in 1970s Americana folk. It could be Neil Young singing about growing up or John Prine and eating peaches or Townes Van Zandt needing love – influences Filiatreau cited. This album pays homage to the music of the past. Still, it’s not retro. Filiatreau renews it. The pedigree of the music may be clear, but there is also something eternally contemporary about a voice and a guitar.
When the songs are about letters never sent, planting gardens or just being crazy, we are in familiar territory. Filiatreau takes us there as if we had never left. We would like the visit to last more than 23 minutes. This debut album is a promising introduction to a new talent.