Sam Shinazzi and I first crossed paths at a Will Oldham show in Sydney after years of seeing one another at Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and Pavement shows. We chatted about music, film, football and probably about girls. We have since become close friends, having followed the same football team all our lives. We also share many of the same musical obsessions, although Sam is more punk rock than I am. He is also more Springsteen than I could ever hope to be. Aaron Curnow Spunk Records & friend of Sam Shinazzi
In 2005 Sam released “Stories You Wouldn’t Believe” which had a lovely drawing of a bridge on the cover. Bridges are important to Sam; when you grow up in Sydney’s south, bridges are important to you. They represent more than engineering at its best; they are a symbol of the south and once you cross the bridge a different world exists. “Out Of the Question”, “My Friend and a Free Day”, “Wyoming” and of course “Scotty Come Home” are all brilliant in their storytelling and some of my most treasured songs. “Scotty Come Home” was an incredible single which was ignored by commercial alternative radio and I still don’t understand why. Its passionate chorus would make Conor Oberst weak at the knees.
2008 saw the release of “Then I Held My Breath” which was a more down-tempo affair, and the song quality second to none. It received glowing reviews and like his second album was released in the UK & Europe. “Today We Lost A Great One” and “Please Don’t Let Me Forget” featured heavily on public radio. Sam toured capital cities of Australia and played a number of shows in America.
That trip to the States was very fruitful, with Sam writing one of the standouts on the new album “When the Lights Come Up” in America. Titled “Twin Cities” after some great experiences in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Sam channels Glen Campbell with soaring strings and a chorus to die for! It is one of the best songs I have heard in 2011 and like the chorus sentiment states, a song that I will never forget.
“When the Lights Come Up” is Sam’s fourth album (2011). He shed the C-Minus Project name following his debut “Less Than Perfect Day” in 2003 and I’ve never really asked him why. It is probably because Sam has a great name that is repetition at it’s best! Why he didn’t use it all along I will never know.
“When The Lights Come Up” is a damn fine album. It is Sam’s greatest release to date and one I am exceptionally proud to be a part of. I love everything about it! While the 90s style production reminds me of some of my favourite records of that period, it has plenty of light and shade. One minute it is powering along, the next it is gentle and retrospective. It has a towering opener in “Movie Of Your Life”, a bubbly single in “Good Things” that makes you actually feel good all over and plenty of tender moments on songs such as “Jennifer Don’t Cry”.
Like all great albums, it takes you on a journey. Is it a journey for you? I believe it will be. Please take the time to listen and make your mind up for yourself. Aaron Curnow
“Forever & For Now” is Sam’s fifth album – 10 new songs, his best batch yet and recorded accordingly so.