Photo by Libby Danforth
I could only imagine how exciting it must feel to be releasing a debut album. And while it’s a big step forward for an artist, it’s also a look back at the road travelled. Nashville singer-songwriter Sam Robbins gathers together his past reflections in the title track of his May 14 release, “Finally Feeling Young.” Watch this live acoustic performance of the title track.
With a love for the classic singer-songwriters of the 70s, the self-described “old soul singer-songwriter” performed Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” in his well-received audition for “The Voice.” Sam is also a graduate of the songwriting department of the Berklee School of Music and has a love for teaching the craft.
Thank you, Sam, for visiting 11 Questions. We look forward to your virtual record release show via Zoom on May 16 at 8pm. Details are forthcoming at www.samrobbinsmusic.com.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m originally from Portsmouth, NH. It’s a little coastal fishing town. My family has been there for a long time, and it’s a great little community. I grew up with lots of music, free concerts in the park, a community music school down the street, etc. I moved to Nashville because I wanted to explore other areas of the country, and I wanted to find somewhere where that kind of music community is very alive. And it definitely is in Nashville! I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I love that I can walk through any door and find the best players I’ve ever heard everywhere. It makes me better!
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first album I bought with my own money was a CD by a sort of Progressive Rock band called Coheed and Cambria when I was 11. I loved their song on guitar hero, so I saved up the money and bought the album and still have it! The last album I bought was my friend Hannah Siglin’s album Seeds which was a CD from her release show!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first show I saw was Blink-182 when I was 12. Yeah, I was kind of a rocker guy when I was younger. I was in a middle school Punk band. and we played Green Day and Blink-182 covers all the time. I was thrilled by the pyrotechnics on stage. The last one I saw was Julian Lage and Margaret Glaspy at City Winery Nashville in November. One of my favorite guitar players ever with one of the best writers ever. It was amazing!
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
I would say Chris Stapleton! He kind of embodies the classic Nashville grind to me.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I actually don’t drink coffee, but my girlfriend does! We live right by Sip Café in East and go there a lot for her to get coffee and me to get ice cream. Pizza is definitely Brooklyn Pizza and Café. I went there the week I moved, and I have tried many since, but nothing even comes close.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
This is not the coolest answer ever, but I think I’d have to say Taylor Swift’s Fearless. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge Taylor Swift fan but listening to that album, all these years later, I realized that it’s just a perfect Nashville album. The writing, the parts, everything! Exactly what it should be!
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Of course, there’s only one answer, Cookout! I’m from the north, where there aren’t any Cookouts. I was introduced to these in Nashville and wow, life changed!
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
The dream! Halley Neal, who is my girlfriend, is also an amazing songwriter and the best singer I’ve ever heard. Ele Ivory, who I did The Voice with (briefly), is an amazing artist. And Taylor O’Connor. We went to school together. She just has an amazing voice for Country, and I love her songs.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I think The Listening Room and the Bluebird. I’ve played both twice, and they were such amazing environments to hear songs. It felt like the rooms themselves were so conducive to really appreciating the music.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
I’d be interested to see what John Mayer would do here. I’m not sure if it’s his vibe but that would be amazing to see him collaborate with some Nashville people.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Releasing my debut album, Finally Feeling Young, on May 14. It’s the biggest step I’ve taken so far, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Hopefully I’ll be really getting going touring this fall and just trying to share my songs. That’s what it’s all about, sharing the music and keeping the ball rolling!