A bit less than three years after his debut Shadows in the Road, Sam Weber is back and is taking a lot of inspiration from California in the 1970s. On his debut, we noted that Weber was gravitating between rock and country, and here he seems to have made up his mind. Valentina Nevada (named after the album’s “muse”) harkens back to the early days of country-rock with its slick guitar and wistful sounds.
Though Weber and co. are playing with confidence, he keeps himself vulnerable through his lyrics. Throughout, he’s struggling with his own feelings or chasing after that which cannot be retrieved. “She was born to run, I was born to chase her,” he sings at the beginning of “The Heat,” but he quickly finds himself “burning out.” In “Buddy,” he’s asking a number of questions and doubting his own abilities. He’s very blunt in “Charlotte” that he doesn’t mean anything at all to her. “Why so misanthropic? I cannot expect to explain” are the first words of “North American.” He openly questions empty lyrics, hoping he can eventually “sing about something that means something to me.”
But there’s plenty to revel in, too. “Anybodys'” is a jaunty piano-based tune somewhat reminiscent of Zeus. There’s lots of lively guitar picking in “What’s the Matter?,” which also showcases some beautiful harmonies. The licks of “Tunnel of Love” are mighty tasty.
Nevada Valentina will be out on Cordova Bay Records on May 27, but until then, enjoy a full stream of the album below.