TRACK REVIEW: Samuel Jack - Surrender



Samuel Jack 









Surrender is available from 3rd February, 2017.

Pre-order the song via:


Pop; Soul


Somerset, U.K.


THERE is something heartening when you find a musician that has…

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overcome some hard times and succeeded – in the face of that adversity and stress. Before coming to look at my featured artist, it is worth having a chat about the reality for some artists – how bad luck and life’s events can affect someone. I also want to look at the male solo artist; talk a bit about musicians in smaller areas and the effectiveness of promotion and hard work. To start, I have been buoyed to hear about Samuel Jack and how well he is doing at the moment. Many of us look at artists and assume they are all comfortable and living in a rather lavish setting – at the very least there are a lot of home comforts. In addition, there is the assumption artists are all quite well-off emotionally and have a much easier life that most. The truth is, musicians are humans and have the same experiences and fortune as anybody else out there. In fact, many go into music because of events like depression and anxieties; bad luck with regards luck and other such struggles. In terms of Samuel Jack, he has had to face some romantic upheaval and personal tragedy; he resides in a caravan (in Somerset) and lives a rather modest life. That might sound quite restricting and sad but the fact is; Samuel Jack is creating some of the finest music of his career. It makes me wonder whether limitations and restrictions actually lead to better music. I have reviewed a lot of Folk-based musicians who are surrounded by peacefulness and tranquillity. None of the noise and pressure of the city: they have time to contemplate and reflect without being suffocated by those around them. There is a lot to be said for a big city – the creativity one finds and the musicians around them – but stepping away from populous areas can really do something wonderful to a person. In terms of Samuel Jack; he has gone through some rough times and been subject to love’s daggers.

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That has been very painful – moving away from home as a teenager must have been scary and challenging – but he has emerged a strong and fine human; one of the most promising songwriters around. It is an interesting argument – whether loss and pressure actually help a musician – but we all get it into our heads musicians are better-off and settled compared with everyone else. Statistics and articles have emerged that underline just how hard it is to be a musician. In terms of revenue: gigging is the most effective way to generate cash but that can be a challenge. Many musicians suffer anxiety and the sheer stress of being ‘comfortable’ financially is enough to scare some off the industry. It may all sound like I’m trying to scare Samuel Jack or dampen his future but the reverse is true: he has overcome the odd and challenges and come out the other end stronger and more determined. It is, like a lot of subjects I address, worth more investigation but I am impressed to discover a musician that has seen a lot of heartbreak and not let it get to him – or dampen his zeal and passion for music. Before I continue on, let us ‘meet’ Samuel Jack:

Samuel Jack is a rootsy vintage soul artist in an indie-tee clad body. In a recent one-to-watch feature, MUSIC WEEK describe him as an “Emotive storyteller, seamlessly fusing the classic sounds of his upbringing with a refreshing rawness and heartfelt honesty”.

Straight off the back of his first headline and radio tour, Samuel is set to release one of his most powerful singles to date: ‘Surrender’ out on February 3rd.The single is about "Arriving at the point when it's do or die - when you've gotta let your guard down and go for it." 

Take a listen to the private single link of “Surrender” here: 

Having had an unstable and nomadic childhood it's not surprising that Samuel, after leaving home at 16, currently lives, writes and records his unique style of contemporary indie-soul in a caravan on the outskirts of a small village in Somerset.

It’s impossible to ignore the raw heartfelt power in Samuel’s voice and after jamming at his local pub, he was plucked from the field where he lives and asked to open the Avalon Stage for Glastonbury. Samuel has spent the last year writing and refining his first EP, ‘Let It All Out’ which was released in August and positioned straight into the UK iTunes chart. This debut was met with much enthusiasm from the media who proclaimed Samuel Jack to be “A unique, intelligent storyteller with a rugged soulful vocal that commands the room” (Glasswerk), and “…a songwriter whose composed and sensitive piano driven melodies will tug on your heartstrings” (Songwriter magazine) 

Championed by both BBC Introducing and Robert Elms at BBC London, Samuel recently performed live sessions for many of the regional BBC stations and is receiving regular spins on U.S. stations including KCRW Los Angeles. Samuel’s music has drawn listeners from far and wide and has secured a number of sync placements on US TV shows such as Nashville, Grimm and Satisfaction. Also a firm favorite of secret show movement Sofar Sounds, he continues to be invited to play a number of their shows and has just wrapped his first UK tour with the majority of the dates promptly selling out and in some cases extra dates added due to popular demand 

Samuel has also shared the stage with both established and upcoming artists such as Ward Thomas, Grand Master Flash, the rising talents of Izzy Bizu andJake Isaac as well as playing at Glastonbury, Innocent Unplugged and Larmer Tree Festivals. Performing live, Samuel leaves his memorable mark on everyone who sees him. “It is no exaggeration to say that Samuel held the large crowd totally spellbound.” (Louder Than War), charming his audience with his “impassioned vocals and catchy folk-inspired melodies.” (Gigslutz)

Samuel has recently created a lo-fi video series “Live From My Caravan”, a selection of his original songs recorded live and uncut from his home. In his recent touring period Samuel also engaged in an interactive campaign involving 'pop up' busking sessions #LiveFromMyTourVan which were streamed live on social media sites giving audiences a new way to interact with the music.

2017 promises to see Samuel Jack reach far greater heights. With a second tour being lined up for early spring, key festival dates scheduled for the summer and further sync placements, it is only a matter of time before Samuel Jack becomes the new artist name on everyone’s lips”.

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The male solo artist is a dynamic/side of music that yielded promise in the mainstream last year. Although it was a year dominated by female artists, I was encouraged to see male solo artists claim ground and attention. It may seem odd to raise but that side of music – the lone male – is one that is as unpredictable as any. There was a time, a few years back, where bands were all the rage and stealing top honours in the mainstream. Over the past, say two years perhaps, we are seeing female artists taking more of the spotlight and being focused on. That is very pleasing to see but I wonder where their male counterparts fit in. I mentioned how last year saw some great albums by male acts. The likes of Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean created stunners; as did James Blake, Bon Iver and Kanye West – again, it was female artists that did most of the great work in my mind. There were some fantastic band-made albums (Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human Being among them) and this year suggests more bands will shine and mix it up with the best solo artists out there. I am not sure whether it is a sign of the times or a preference among many, but it is interesting seeing how music shifts and who is being favoured. This year, solo male artists like Ed Sheeran are being tipped but how many others do you know who look likely to dominate through 2017? A lot of Urban acts are being celebrated by they, in the most part, are female.

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The boys have a lot of talent and artists like Samuel Jack are going to affect change and bring the boys back into focus. I guess the mainstream is favouring heavier, more impassioned music: that which looks at society and vital issues and does so with authority and heart. Maybe (many male solo artists) are creating music that is a bit softer and more personal – not that which the critics are looking for at the moment. Samuel Jack is that artist who can blow away the cobwebs from 2016 and show just how important he is. Among the new artists and those in the underground, he is among the most memorable and talented around. By the time he ascends to the mainstream, I am betting he will lead a charge of male artists and be among the most talked-about. I have mentioned artists like Ed Sheeran and James Blake: two acts that differ but, between them, have very popular sounds. Perhaps it is a little all-sweeping saying female artists are completely dominating but they seem more nimble and original than their male peers. Samuel Jack proves he is capable of stealing hearts and minds; not only because of his backstory and history but the incredible music and songwriting he displays on every track. I know Samuel Jack will continue to create music and have his sights set on the charts. Whether he favours the path of stations like ‘Radio 1 and 2 or a cooler, more diverse station like BBC Radio 6 Music I am not sure. To be fair, his music has that adaptability and universality that means it could be championed by all three.

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I am always pleased seeing an artist emerge from outside of the big cities because it gives me a chance to look at artists that hail from smaller areas. Samuel Jack might have his management in London – and someone who will spend a lot of time here – but his music was created in Somerset. That caravan setting and rather close-quarters living can be heard in the music. He writes songs that reflect desire and loss but the vocals have that intimacy and beauty about them. Of course, there is immense power and potency but you are transported somewhere safe and calm when you lose yourself in the music. Somerset does have some great artists playing there but is not exactly over-stuffed with historic names and future legends. Whether Samuel Jack can change that is to be seen but (the county) deserves more acclaim and attention. Whilst it is difficult ensuring every part of the U.K. gets adulation and press, it is worth casting an eye outside of London and looking at other parts of the country. I guess it does not matter where you are based so long as the music is fantastic and pure. That is something the media seems to forget and are reluctant to spend a lot of time highlighting musicians from other counties and areas of Britain. It is hard to hear Samuel Jack’s music and imagine where it came from. Whether latest single Surrender was penned in that Somerset caravan or not: you imagine it was scribed in a large house in a city and somewhere full of instruments and technology. Inspiration is hard to pin-down and in Samuel Jack’s case; his heart and past memories have influenced the track. I mentioned Surrender’s inspiration because it is a track full-bodied and bold. It has that clean and polished sound and a song that could easily sit on the playlists of the biggest stations. One imagines, when a song is written in a modest setting, it will be quite pastoral and quiet – not that dramatic or layered.

Maybe I have abandoned my discussion about smaller counties but the fact remains: do not assume the best and brightest musicians are from the large cities. Regardless, I am pleased to see Samuel Jack remaining loyal to home and Somerset; blending that with London gigs and life. I am not sure how much time he spends here but can only assume he has his sights on the capital in the long-term. He plays gigs here and many of his fans live here. His management/P.R. company is based in London and many upcoming gigs will be here. If you look at Samuel Jacks’ online variation and information it is very satisfying and full. I have complained about artists that have very poor social media pages: no information or photos and hardly any suggestion of who they are and where they come from. Samuel Jack ensures people know about him and where he comes from; where he is going and what his music is about. You can, with the click of the mouse, gain access to all of Samuel Jack’s music and social media pages. That is a crucial consideration in modern music and one a lot of people are overlooking. Couple this with some fantastic music and personality and you have an artist ready for the mainstream and its demands. Clearly, there is a lot of faith in Samuel Jack and the reason so many people are falling for his music is because of its relatability and honesty. You have a young man unafraid to bare his soul but doing so in an original and fresh way. He is not your average and predictable solo artist who makes music-by-numbers: he is someone who has that charm and intelligence and applies that to his songs. Surrender is a stunning glimpse into his future and underlines just how special he is.

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I am a big fan of Samuel Jack’s previous music but can see changes between that and Surrender. Let It All Out was the four-track recorded last year and its title track is a soulful and uplifting number. Our hero gets things wrong and loves; he takes and takes and knows the uncertainties of relations. He is finding his way in the world and the need to relinquish that pressure and build-up are crucial. It is an evocative and vivid number delivered with a hugely impassioned vocal and a splendid composition. There is that mix of Pop and Soul and a contrast of anxiety and hopefulness. Mistakes have been made and the duo (lovers one assumes) has had a lot of obstacles to face. I assumed it was about love but many could look at the words more broadly. Perhaps a call to those who feel stress and need to release what is inside them. Whatever the origins and truth it is a song that hits imminently and wins you with its sheer conviction and prowess. It has energy and addictiveness and that chorus is one of the most empathic and heartfelt you will find. Making It Rain is another soulful and big number. Stomping percussion and choired backing vocals give it a gravitas and atmosphere fitting to the song’s lyrics. It seems our hero refute the charms and supplication of a female admirer. She is making it rain where it is sunny and creating quite a mood. Not willing to bend to her allure and demands; it is an intriguing song that gets you thinking. That soulful and huge voice keeps resonating and creating shivers. I am reminded of the likes of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – someone tipped for huge things this year. The entire E.P. has that kind of numbers that blend scintillating, emotive lyrics with songs that get into the mind and compel you to think. It is a tight and memorable collection that gained great reviews and provided Samuel Jack new fans and possibilities. Let It All Out (two songs from the E.P.) was remixed a couple of times (after the E.P. release) and showed how much faith there was for the music. Those remixes brought new life to the song and showed just how adaptable it is. I feel Surrender is the strongest thing  Samuel Jack has created because of its confidence and themes. It is the most bracing and memorable vocal performance and one that seems to take in new genres and strands. Fuller and more striking than ever before; this is tied to a composition that is more nuanced and detailed. There are similarities with Let It All Out but there is development and growth from the E.P. Despite only a few months elapsing from the E.P.’s release and Surrender’s creation; one can hear new life and determination emerge.

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Surrender is available in a couple of weeks and is a song likely to score big with the nation’s most influential radio stations. Beginning with rousing and spirited piano notes; the song has that instant drive and passionate undertone. When Samuel Jack comes to the microphone, he implores the heroine to let her hair down and let her fingers lead the way. It is a tremulous and quivering voice that really gets into the heart and makes it mark. Our man does not want to fight and has experienced too much conflict with his girl. Maybe they have been through the wars and conflicted but now there is a resolution. The hero wants the girl to surrender and give in to the feelings of love and desire. Wanting to close his eyes and step over the line – there has been a line drawn before – one imagines a mixture of things. Perhaps there is that sexual desire and need to make things better but perhaps a lack of argument and hardship is in the mind. It has been a tough and challenging past with the lovers on different pages. Now, things have to change and new rules drawn up. Naturally, one senses sexual tension and need to be with the girl but above all is a desire for peace. Maybe there have been silly augments and flair-ups in the past that have almost destroyed the relationship. At first, there is some restraint and calm in the vocal. It is quite intense but not as explosive early on. It keeps its composure and investigates what is happening. The hero does not want to be embroiled in a series of disputes and the time for reality has set in. The chorus is the most overt expression of commitment and dedication Samuel Jack has produced. He is going to throw his hands up and lay down on the line. He will not be meek and give his all to the girl. That is quite a bold step and one that begs the question: who was to blame for the problems before?

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There have been many issues and hesitations so you query who instigated them and is culpable. Maybe it is not as clear-cut as that but one senses guilt on both sides. Making the first move and being that brash is impressive to see and shows a lot of maturity. There is not guilt and accusations (you would hear in many songs) but proclamation and positivity. The passion is strong and, although there have been some bumps along the way, that clarity has emerged. I hear hints of Ed Harcourt and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man in the vocal. It is a primitive and masculine delivery but one imbued with tenderness and affection. There is control and accessibility but originality too – Samuel Jack is not someone who need to mimic another artist. As the words become more heated and evocative – our hero wanting his guard to fall like the girl’s dress – the vocal rises. Imploring and suggesting (let her head rest on his chest) the heat rises and the steam reaches the window panes. Never salacious or too crude; you get the feel of a man who yearns for that special touch and is tired of petty hesitations and boundaries. Few love songs have burned as hard and bright: Surrender is a song that explodes, sparks and fizzes with tension and intensity. When the hero says he will not “be the same anymore” you wonder whether the past has been a hard and uncertain place. There is a hole in his heart and a need for the soul to be nourished and find balm. Maybe the relationship arguments have taken their toll and really had a profound effect on his life. The song has been born from frustration and tiredness you get from that kind of situation. The hands are up and the hero is asking for forgiveness and togetherness.

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Samuel Jack is not a man who gives in or surrenders willingly but knows how futile argument and fighting is. His girl has been waging a war but there is blame on both sides. This dedication to love and happiness is to be commended and the most vibrant and instant song Samuel Jack has created. I hope there is a new E.P. coming because Surrender would be a great lead-off track. It is encouraging seeing a songwriter grow and become more confident with every track he creates. I am a big fan of Samuel Jack’s previous work and can see how he is progressing. Every new moment is enforced by that touring experience and faith fans and radio stations have shown in him. Surrender is a song that connects the first time you hear it but you yearn to come back and listen to it time again. I have tried to drill down to the meaning of the song and just what compelled it. I feel there is that sense of apology and laying everything on the line. Maybe the lovers have had some good times but something has caused denigration and tension. Things have come to a point where there is too much hostility and upheaval. The hero wants that to end and has grown tired of the quarrels and bad days. Surrender is that answer and mandate that promotes unity and puts heart firmly on sleeve. Whether things worked out – and the two are stronger than ever or not – is unclear but one assumes that alluring and powerful message resonated. Let us hope there are more songs like this in Samuel Jack’s locker because Surrender is a song that will find much love and appeal. Radio stations will jump on it and it’s likely new fans will come his way.

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I have mentioned Somerset as a home base for Samuel Jack but it seems like he is happily settled in Dorset (according to his official website). He is happy down in the south-west corner of the country and away from the glitz and rush of the city. The energy and colour London offers must be quite alluring and I know Jack is someone who feels comfortable here. He plays at The Slaughtered Lamb on 10th February and a chance for those in London to hear the new music up-close and personal. Whether a full-time move to London is in the mind of Samuel Jack, I am not sure. I have reviewed artists like Billie Marten (based in Yorkshire) who regular commutes to London and plays a lot of gigs here. She is comfortable at home and the inspiration and pace it provides. Whether Samuel Jack has the same ideas and views I am not sure but that seems to be the case. He is quite settled and happily creating music from the caravan. Not only writing there, he performs in the caravan and has his own intimate world there. I know London will become more important as Samuel Jack progresses as it is the centre of music in this country. He is going to be played across radio stations here and is seeing his fan numbers rise. Of course, Jack has been played on U.S. radio and adorned with accolades and awards. He is a musician that already has a backing and international following – expect that to grow throughout this year. Surrender is the latest single and one that is sure to seduce everyone that hears it. I know the young artist will continue to press and work in 2017 and must have plans in the back of his mind. I am not sure whether we will see an album or E.P. come this year but something must be brewing.

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It has been a productive and busy last couple of years for the artist and he will want to capitalise on the attention he is being provided. It is foolhardy to rush into anything but that will not be the case. Samuel Jack is taking his time to put together the best work he possibly can. Surrender is a wonderful song that continues from his past work but is the most confident and complete song of his career. After getting airtime across BBC and international areas; Samuel Jack will be pleased and encouraged to keep recording and aiming. I would like to see an E.P. from him and feel like that is needed. If too large a gap is left – and singles are released in preference to a full-length recording – then some of that momentum will be lost. This is all clear to the young man and he knows what music requires from him. In terms of talent and ability, there are few quite as strong and appealing as him. That backstory and residency is full of intrigue whilst the music mixes common and personal. Maybe there are more gigs booked for Samuel Jack and I would expect him to take Surrender around the country and get to as many people as possible. There are not many musicians that do things quite the same way as the Devon-based man. He has a great team behind him – ensuring the music is promoted and reviewed – and 2017 is a crucial year for Samuel Jack.

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I’ll end things by returning to my earlier points and suggesting just where Samuel Jack could go this year. I looked at male solo artists and how much of a minority they have become. In past years, it was them and bands that created a lot of the best albums but it is female artists that are stealing top honours now. Of course, there have been some great albums from male solo artists last year but they were overwhelmed by those made by female artists. That looks set to continue this year as the tastemakers are tipping Urban artists like RAY BLK and Nadia Rose for big things. Bands and duos are coming back – Royal Blood and Arcade Fire among them – and there are few male solo artists being tipped for big things this year. I wonder why this is but it might have something to do with the music played (by the guys). The best albums of last year were synonymous with energy and activism; passion and huge intensity – music that grabs you and demands you listen. I am loathed to think of an album (from a male artist) that possessed those qualities. I think the boys will make headway this year and there is a chance for the underground to shine. Music demands artists of the highest calibre regardless of gender. So long as you can say something new and memorable you will always have an audience. I am not sure how the demographic will shape-up this year but I expect to see bands come back into things and do better – last year found very few classic band-created albums. Samuel Jack is an artist you cannot easily compare with anyone else and has that star quality already in place. I am not down on male solo artists but suggesting those like Samuel Jack are much stronger than those in the mainstream. Whether he alone can force a revival has yet to be seen but the signs are all very encouraging.

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In the next few months, Samuel Jack will want to record music and remain ensconced in the caravan. Surrender is just the start of things and the first move towards something big and new. If that is an E.P. or album I am unsure but nationwide support and acclaim must drive Samuel Jack to aim high and be as ambitious as possible. Those musicians that are unique and fascinating should be proffered above all else. You can never accuse Samuel Jack of being ordinary or predictable: qualities that will elevate him above his peers and see great returns. I shall end this by recommending you check out Surrender (on 3rd February) and look at what is to come. I have mentioned that gig at The Slaughtered Lamb and I am sure there will be more London gigs throughout this year. I am excited to see Samuel Jack progress and know what he is capable of. Music is a very tough and competitive industry and many seem to have promise but can fade across time. Issues like finance and gigs can scare many off: getting those all-important dates and keeping the money in is not always a guarantee in this day and age. I know many musicians that have been full of promise but have found the struggles and realities of music a little too challenging and oppressive. The same cannot be applied to Samuel Jack who seems ready and eager to overcome whatever music throws at him. He is a talented and impressive songwriter that can go far and has great backing behind him. Ensure you throw your support behind him and follow his plight. Once Surrender comes out into the ether; there will be a lot of people looking his way and wondering what comes next. Have no fear because 2017 will be an important one for Samuel Jack and one he is ready to take on and shine. He knows what is expected and has all the ingredients to…

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CONTINUE to grow and grow.


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