Saturday, 29 December 2018

2018 - a review

The time has come for another yearly update. 2018 has been a crazy year both on and off stage, probably more off than on, which I suppose is reflected in my gig count of 76. Its down on previous years, but it's still much higher than I expected, and averages at about 1.46 per week.

On stage I hit some major highs this year, the pinnacle being the 3 gigs I played in Dublin in March. It was my first time playing in Ireland, and the friends I made there will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait to go back (and neither can Kayla!)

Other highlights include 2 gigs at The Robin with The Revolt backing me, a trip to Salford to support The Thought Police for their single launch, the incredible experience of playing The Treehouse ouse Sessions and my gig at The Wakes in Oakengates. Plus I made returns to old favourites in The Jamhouse, Katie Fitzgerald's, Hurcutt Pools and Llangollen's Faery and Red Dragon festivals. All in all its been a year of fewer, but dare I say cooler gigs, which if I'm honest is probably a more sustainable gigging model going forward, both in terms of growing and maintaining a fanbase and getting my work-life balance right. I've always felt like I gig too much, mainly for free entry, to really be able to move towards ticketed gigs. Maybe this is the start of a shift. Maybe.

It's off stage where big things have happened. It's been a year of love, heartbreak and change for my friends and family, and I won't go into everything as this isn't the place. I lost a good friend earlier in the year to cancer, though his legacy lives on not only in the work he did to raise awareness on a grand, even global scale, but personally in the friends I have made through him and people he brought into my life. It feels somewhat disingenuous to 'name drop' him (as he is much more 'famous' than me!), because this tribute isn't about building my own profile, but remembering him. He wouldn't care, as it goes, but I still can't bring myself to do it.

I was lucky enough to attend his wedding a few short weeks before he died, and those memories will be with me forever.

At the complete opposite end of the personal emotional spectrum, my son Ezra Alfred Draisey was born on the 12th of December. I am, obviously, completely in love with him, and find myself with a newfound love and respect for both Kayla and Buddy, who have slipped into their new lives as mother-of-two and big brother respectively with equal love and grace. They are my heroes, all three of them.

I look forward to a 2019 filled with exciting adventure both on and off stage. I already have another full band show lined up and a sniff at a pretty major festival, which is mega exciting. I hope to see you out there.


Monday, 17 September 2018

New Live Video!

The gig at The Robin was great! And what's more, I remembered to take, set up and press record on my camera this time, so I've got some live videos for you! I put up a video of our encore cover of Billy Bragg's 'All You Fascists Bound to Lose' last week, which you can check out on YouTube and on my Facebook page. But now, here's an original.

I've been trying to get a full band video of Don't Forget for a while. I have a few acoustic ones, and I really like them, but it's great to finally get the whole band version up for you to see. I love the dynamic changes the song has with the full band.

Thanks to everyone who came to the gig and to the guys in The Revolt for playing. Hopefully we get to do it all again soon.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Tuesday, 28 August 2018


The tickets for my upcoming full band show have arrived! Get yours direct from me or from The Robin website. See you there!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Live in Salford

Lats weekend I made my first road trip for a while to The Old Pint Pot in Salford to support fellow political musos The Thought Police for the launch of their new single 'Holy Man' (out now on various platforms. They were ace, the gig was ace and here is a live video of 'The Worst Lie of All' to prove it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Another new live video!

I'm trying to make an effort to record and upload more 'content' (Christ I hate that word). I doubt anyone would want to see a video of me just talking about my day and pretending a million exciting things are happening right now with my music, so it's taking the form of more live videos from cool gigs I'm playing this summer. Here's another from Banstock, a festival quite literally a stones throw from my house (if my aim was better).

Hope you like it :)

(Disclaimer: It's not that I'm not doing anything with music, quite the opposite, I just get a bit jaded by supposed 'music industry experts' constantly pushing that you need to be doing Facebook Live videos every time you cook your tea or pack up your car for a gig. I'm busy with gigs, with merchandise making for myself and other people and general musical work. I post about it on various social media platforms on a semi regular basis. I'm just not going to video everything I do for the internet.)

Monday, 28 May 2018

New Live Video

Check out the new live video of 'Used to be my Hero' live from Lechlade festival  (25/5/18). It's a cool festival and you should check it out :)

Halfway through this song Buddy ran up to the stage and stole my drink! I'm being forever upstaged by him nowadays!

Another cool fact; because the headliner for the stage I was playing on never showed up, I technically headlined my first ever music festival stage on Friday night. It's a technicality, but it's still cool!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

An interview with The Burning Blogger of Bedlam.

A few weeks ago I sat down for a chat (via email) with The Burning Blogger of Bedlam to talk about protest music's place in society, and my place in the world. Read the interview below.

BBB: Speaking from experience, it can be a massive uphill struggle to try to make a go of being a real musician, songwriter or performer. You can often be spending more money than you’re ever going to make and sometimes without much reward. What has your own experience been like…?

Sam: I think it’s a constant uphill struggle, and it’s important sometimes to look back and see how far you’ve come in order to not lose focus. It’s hard, it will continue to be hard if not harder, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I’ll continue to work hard for as long as I can.

I’m a very frugal guy, so spending money on my music always jars me a little. I have to weigh up every purchase and decide if I think it’s going to be worthwhile and if I’m going to make that money back. Whether it’s buying new instruments or PA equipment, or investing in getting merchandise manufactured, I always over-think it!


BBB: Is the underground or DIY music scene still thriving in the UK, in your opinion? And is there still a sense of community in it or is it more fragmented…?

Sam: Locally there is a real sense of community. Some of my best friends I’ve met on the local music scene, and you always seem to end up on a bill with at least one person you know. Further around the UK it’s a little more fragmented and can be a bit more cut-throat, but there are still loads of really good people out there willing to gig swap and help out when you’re booking a tour.


BBB: Who are your big influences as a songwriter…?

Sam: Like many songwriters, I have a large influence base. I would say that the main ones are Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Billy Bragg and early Frank Turner. I’m also a massive Johnny Cash fan, so that tends to sneak into my music sometimes too.


BBB: Do you think of yourself as a protest singer…?

Sam: I do! I really believe that music has an important role to play in social change. Historically musical movements have ‘changed the world’, and while I’m not naïve enough to think that my music will do the same, I think to deny the importance of protest in music is to deny how important it has been in the past to things like social, racial and gender equality movements.


BBB: How much would you say your politics or political perspectives influences songwriting…?

Sam: My personal politics influence my songwriting (and my life) in a big way. I like to think I write music that is at it’s most simple an honest portrayal of who I am and what I stand for, so keeping my politics out of it would be disingenuous, as it’s such a big part of who I am.


BBB: Something I’ve written about here recently is the seeming absence of ‘protest music’ in the modern age. Is that something you’ve noticed too? If so, why do you think protest music or political music has gone out of fashion…?

Sam: I hear this a lot, and while it’s true that it’s pretty much gone from the mainstream, there is still a wealth of ‘protest singers’ out there for people who care to look. I think there is probably a direct link between the decline of the spotlight for protest music and the viewpoint of music being more and more of a business. As musicians are pushed to appeal to a wider and wider audience (and their music becomes more bland as a result) they are more likely to ‘play it safe’ with songs than express opinions that might turn some fans away.

There are many musicians who have been accused of ‘selling out’ like this, and though it’s their decision, I feel there may be a lot of pressure coming at them from labels to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible in order to sell as much as possible, rather than making the music that maybe feels more true to them.


BBB: Would you think of yourself as a folk singer…? I ask this, because I’ve noticed that folk singers seem to drift very naturally into protest music in a way that other types of performers don’t. I’ve always wondered why that is. Do you have any thought on that…?

Sam: Historically I think that might be true, though there is an argument that blues and more recently rap music can often contain a very political message (again if you look past the slim pickings the mainstream spotlight is cast on). A lot of the famous folk singers that influence today’s artists were big players in things like the civil rights movement and advocates for workers and human rights and used to sing a lot of songs about such things, so it’s there’s definitely a tradition there for folk artists a bit more than some other styles.

One of my favourite quotes is by Louis Armstrong where he says ‘All music is folk music. I aint never heard no horse sing a song’ and I think he might have something there, though in the more stylistic sense I do think of myself of a folk musician. My music can be quite varied, but folk is probably where it finds a more comfortable home most often.


BBB: My own experience of bands and musicians is that there are generally two types of attitude or motivation: those who want to ‘make it’ in the industry and those who just have the passion and don’t care if they make it or not. My own psychology was always a bit schizophrenic and ping-ponged back and forth between both those attitudes. What about you…? Are you already ‘living the dream’ or is the ‘dream’ still on the horizon…?

Sam: I have no interest in celebrity, the whole idea of it is just crazy to me. I’ve always said that my biggest aim would be able to do what I love to do for a living, and right now I’m doing ok with that. I went full time with music last summer and so far it’s working out alright. There is a certain level of ‘notoriety’ that you have to reach in order to sustain a career (people need to know about your music in order to listen to it, buy merch and come to gigs),but I think it’s a long way away from needing to be a famous megastar.


BBB: What’s the story behind the song ‘The Day I Was Meant to Die’…?

Sam: It’s a song about reflecting on life based on your own mortality, and maybe about regrets. I’ve lost a few people prematurely over the last couple of years and that definitely influenced me with this song.


BBB: What draws you to a particular song when it comes to performing covers? I noticed you do a version of ‘English Civil War’ by The Clash…

Sam: I learned that for a Strummerjam gig for the Joe Strummer Foundation. We all had to pick a Strummer song to cover, and I chose that one as I felt it was a really appropriate song for what society can be like at the moment.

I have loads of reasons why I might learn a new cover. It could be a request for a gig, or because I’m doing a cover gig and I feel like my set is missing a certain kind of song. Then I might learn something because it’s a project and learning it might force me to work on a certain technique or improve as a musician. Finally (as is the case with most of the more political covers I do), I might just learn it because I like it!


BBB: What’s the story behind the current album..? Is there an underlying theme..? And what’s the reaction to the album been like…?

Sam: I really feel like it’s a personal album. While there isn’t a certain theme per se, I do feel like it documents a certain point in my life and what I felt about a lot of different topics at that point in time. The reaction has been really positive, both from fans and the press.

I’ve had some really nice reviews in local and online press, and people who have spoken to me have been really gracious about what they think of it. It’s been really nice to get praise on the production of the record too, because I recorded, mixed and mastered it myself, and I think it’s my best work technically, as well as my best songs to date.


BBB: Do you have a favorite location or venue you’ve played at? Or, for that matter, a favorite gig you’ve played…? For me, it was my old band playing the 100 Club in London. What’s yours and why…?

Sam: One of my favourite local venues is The Robin 2 in Bilston, just because it’s a great place and really supports live music. Outside of that I love playing at Codfest, which is the music festival I have helped to put on for that past 8 years.

One of my all-time favourite gigs was at Paul Murphy’s house for his songwriter’s café a few years back. Paul was a well known and loved Birmingham musician who put gigs on in his garden through the summer in this fantastic wooden structure he built. There were two or three other acts on, we went down there, had dinner with him and his family then played to an invited audience in a tiny seated auditorium he had made, and the whole thing was live streamed around the world on his website.

It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my musical life.

Check the whole thing out at

Friday, 2 February 2018

Another new live video :)

Here it is, another new live video from Codfest last year. Check it out :)

Don't forget to get your tickets for the full band gig at The Robin 2 on the 22nd of February. It's going to be awesome!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Brand new live video.

Check out the live video of 'The Day That I Was Meant to Die' from Codfest 7. If you want to see the band in action, get your tickets for our upcoming show at The Robin 2 with The Arrangements, Alex Vann and Dominic Malin here.