You know when you’re at a concert and you’re waiting for the main artist to come on stage to perform, but you have to wait a while for the show? And as you wait, you’re greeted by the support act and, with just one song in, they blow you away.
This is the effect that English singer-songwriter Samm Henshaw had on me the first time I saw him when he had been one of the supporting acts on Allen Stone’s Building Balance Tour back in 2020.
From the time he was on stage, Samm had electrified the crowd. So much so, that when he came to the end of his song “Church,” everyone in the audience immediately took out their phones and started following him on Spotify, Apple Music – you name it.
And now, Samm has recently just released his debut album Untidy Soul and it’s everything that you’re looking for if you’re someone who is searching for new music to listen to this year.
I should preface by saying that it’s been a week since this album has dropped but I think to really appreciate this amazing record, you have to take your time to sit down and listen to it from beginning to end because it is truly a gem.
There’s something about intro tracks that makes an album special and on Untidy Soul, “Still No Album – Intro,” there’s something so cheeky about these 25 seconds that almost acknowledges the anticipation that fans of Samm have been enduring when it comes to when he would release his debut record.
But as it transitions into “Thoughts and Prayers,” the anticipation is finally over and done with and one finally gets to dive into the soulful sound of Samm’s voice and lyrics. The second track dives right into such rich and bluesy jazz tones but beyond this layer, it’s the lyrics that showcase the true weight behind this song.
“Grow,” which was one of the singles released before the album, is a relaxing and romantic track and it will have you “so in love.” Coming in as track five on the record, listening to “Chicken Wings” is just as good – maybe even better – when it was first released as a single. It radiates such groove, soul, R&B, and gospel, it’s the perfect combination and will fill you up with joy. Side note, I could have this song on repeat 24/7 and never get tired of it, that’s how good this track is.
Though only about a minute long, “Mr Introvert” still manages to keep the groove going on Untidy Soul. Samm hits such a sweet falsetto when singing “Let your heart be free, let your heart complete me, it’s something I believe,” it just goes to show the range the singer has. But blink fast and you’ll miss it because as the song nears its end, the transition into “8.16” is so smooth, you wouldn’t even realize that it’s another song until you look down at your phone.
“Mr Introvert – Reprise” has a magical tone to it and as it transitions into “Loved By You,” the honesty and emotions that radiate from this song are just beautiful, and as it blends into “Take Time (feat. Tobe Nwigwe),” this song takes you on such a peaceful R&B ride. As I write this paragraph, I’ve already listened to Untidy Soul more than five times now and I still cannot get enough of this song. Without a doubt, it’s one of my favorites off the record.
The clever thing about this album though is that as you begin to near the end, you’re reminded to take a break on “Waterbreak.” Hearing this the first time brought such a smile to my face and it’s such a fun thing to add to an album. So, thank you, Samm, for reminding your fans to drink some water as they dive back in and continue the groovy ride this album has already provided.
“It Won’t Change (feat. Maverick Sabre)” and “East Detroit” are other favorites of mine. Not only do they each have their own sound but the lyrics continue to impress as they lay everything on the table and give you a look into Samm’s mind.
“Enough” is not only another favorite but it asks questions I think everyone has once asked themselves and as it incorporates gospel tones, it’s a song I know will sound amazing live in concert.
“Keyon – Interlude” is just full-on blues and jazz and if you’re someone who loves these two genres, you’ll appreciate this perfect interlude for its forty-five seconds. “Still Broke (feat. Keyon Harrold)” is the third song on this album that had been released as a single and just like the other two, it’s still so good – if anything, it’s rich with flavor.
But it’s “Joy,” the final track on Untidy Soul that pulls everything in its place and creates a perfect balance of gospel, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, and more. Samm even sings at the beginning of this track that “This one might leave you teary-eyed” and I can say for a fact as you listen to the lyrics on this track, it’s a bittersweet one.
On one hand, it’s a joyful song that has you mesmerized by its production, lyrics, and Samm’s vocals. But on the other side, the reason why it’s bittersweet is that it’s the final song, and as you near the end, part of you doesn’t want it to end. However, because of this, it goes to show just how beautifully crafted this album is.
With Untidy Soul, Samm Henshaw tugs at your heartstrings. It’s filled with many emotions ranging from love, passion, joy, and more all while playing with different sounds. But as it explores these ends, for his debut album, Samm has proven to be a true storyteller with his songwriting and he’s an artist that is effortlessly bringing heart and soul to the world of music.
Samm Henshaw’s debut album, Untidy Soul is out now.