[Editor’s Note: Please excuse the terrible smartphone picture above. Some things happen as needs must.]
So I just hit up a local cafe/bar type dealie in St. Simon’s Island, GA- Palm Coast, if you’re interested. They frequently have live music from locals. Some good, some bad. Tonight was impressive.
An excellent show was put on by the man grainily pictured above, who sang with that Gaelic/Scottish brogue (self-admittedly affected) that is so loved by fans of such contemporaries as Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers. Sam Brooks: barista by day, Irish crooner by night. His own original pieces were interspersed with sweetly-sad covers of Journey, Snow Patrol, and even an oddly maudlin version of “PIano Man”.
The show had that special mix of small-crowd, enthusiastic-and-maybe-a-bit-too-drunk-audience. Yells of “one more song”, accompanied by a fair amount of money appearing in his guitar case, shot out each time Brooks attempted to relinquish the stage. The singer/songwriter graciously kept playing to just a few souls long past his intended closer. It was that kind of awkward but cheerful intimacy that only happens at 11 PM on a Sunday.
Brooks finished with what he called his favorite cover, “Hallelujah”, to sad farewells from the crowd. What’s more- he managed to take a normally cloyingly ubiquitous cover and play it beautifully and completely straight. If anything could be said for sure about this singer, it would be that he is an odd mix of absolute self-awareness and yet incredible sincerity- a trait lacking in most of the indier-than-thou crowd. It was almost painful to listen to the raw emotion behind some of the love-song-turned-break-up pieces that peppered his set. Keep an eye out for this one in the future.