First Listen: The “Redemption” of Samm Henshaw

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    The blues revival comeback in rhythm and blues keeps chugging along and our ears are better for it. On their latest releases, artists from Jill Scott to Alabama Shakes and DeRoberts and the Half Truths to Ben L’Oncle Soul are delving deeper into the rootsy side of soul. Even Queen Latifah’s all blues soundtrack of the brilliant HBO biopic Bessie (on the life of the blues great Bessie Smith) is digging into the early 20th Century crates for what had become an increasingly rare sound to find. UK newcomer Samm Henshaw comes right on time with a spacious country fieldscape that evokes porch singing and field claps in perfect harmony. There’s even a bit of reggae twang in his Southern soul phrasing. While the young Henshaw is a bloke from London, this music is pure Americana.

    Both “Redemption” and his latest single, “Only Wanna Be With You” are available as free downloads for the time being on Henshaw’s Soundcloud page, but there’s something extra special about the harrowing “Redemption.” Part soul ballad, part work song, the field cry takes its time drawing you in as one of his female background singers sails over the choral of harmonic voices with a rift that immediately lets listeners know this is serious business, this is church. Where do I sign up for tithes and offerings?

    Definitely keep watch of Samm Henshaw. He’s currently touring the UK and parts of Europe. To stay abreast of Henshaws releases and travel schedule, visit his website:

    By L. Michael Gipson