March 2024 sees the release of Sam Lee’s fourth studio album, ‘Songdreaming’, the follow up to 2020’s ‘Old Wow’, an album variously described as ‘A dazzling fusion of nature and song’ (The Observer) and a ‘sublime album that demands to be heard in the 21st century’ (The Daily Telegraph) amidst a host of critical acclaim.
‘Songdreaming’ represents the latest stage in the development of Sam Lee’s music, from its roots in traditional folk song to a new way of imagining and performing these old songs, making them relevant for a modern audience.
The album sees Sam continue his work with producer Bernard Butler and long term collaborator, arranger and composer James Keay in creating an album rich in musicality and invention, building on the backbone of double bass, percussion and violin with a world of instrumentation including the Arabic Qanoon, Swedish Nyckelharpa and more. In doing so, Sam delivers an album that ranges from more immediately identifiable acoustic songs to drone soundscapes to the electric guitar and gospel choir propelled lead single, ‘Meeting Is A Pleasant Place’ which features the recording debut of Trans Voices, a London based transgender choir.
With a lyrical focus on the perilous state of the natural world that has informed Sam’s work since his debut, ‘Songdreaming’ represents the most expansive and fully realised Sam Lee album to date, capable of switching from the beautiful balladry of ‘Sweet Girl McRee’ to the gospel tinges of ‘Leaves Of Life’ and the whiteout noise close of album opener ‘Bushes and Briars’. It is a full expression of Sam Lee as an artist and of his relationship to his muse, the natural world. As he notes:
“I wanted to sing a vision of what a conversation between us and the land could be, to restore and inspire a practice of songful immersion in nature that brings with it healing, something we need now more than ever”