Sam Stokes Offers Thoughtful Songwriting & Experimental Undertones On New Album ‘Common Ground’

The Breakdown

Pleasingly exploratory and lightly experimental, the albums moves between picked acoustic guitars and moments of more loose indie influence make it a captivating listen without ever introducing a truly full band sound.

Moving between reflective acoustic songwriting and moments of sprawling, fuzz-laden experimentation, the new album ‘Common Ground’ from Sam Stokes is brilliant on many levels.

Comparable to Joni Mitchell while offering a more contemporary vibrancy and freedom akin to Jacob Collier, the album’s 12 tracks display an innate understanding of intricate yet commercially viable craft and heartfelt soundscapes. From the acoustic reflective songwriting of ‘Fig Tree in a Monastery’ to the more soulful layers of vocals and crunching electric guitar tones of ‘Who Does Mother Call?’ to the boxy spoken words and fuzzy guitar and bass tones of ‘Release from the Microcosm’, the album’s opening quickly showcases the range of styles Sam Stokes covers across the album.

It’s easy to categorize Stokes’ sound as singer-songwriter, given that the album is primarily built around acoustic guitar. Indeed, she is a singer-songwriter; however, there is far more sonic depth on display.

Elsewhere on the album, ‘Met a Man’ offers delicate, reflective songwriting, while ‘Like a Feather’ delivers biting, urgent vocal delivery over chorus-soaked acoustic guitar. Towards the end of the album, ‘The Sun & The Moon’ captures an essence of Bob Dylan with its quick-fire, half-spoken, descriptive lyricism, while ‘Write the Letter’ and ‘Out to the Meadow’ reinforce the melodic acoustic singer-songwriter sound that characterizes her work to close out the album.

Discussing the album, Sam shares: “My entire commitment in this lifetime is to share love, light, and hope through music and art so that our planet and our humanity may be the best it has ever been. I view music as a form of servitude, and I hope that in every song that comes through me and every performance, I am able to give someone just a little bit more love in their life.”

A stellar effort with bags of depth and musicality despite its stripped-back nature, ‘Common Ground’ retains a grounded realness and rawness that keeps it authentic. Pleasingly exploratory and lightly experimental, the album moves between picked acoustic guitars and moments of loose indie influence, making it a captivating listen, despite not ever introducing a truly full band sound.

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