18 Jan 2022
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Sam Bartells - Single Review: Where We'll Go Feat. Mema Wilda

29 Jun 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Rock The Folk event at The Tuning Fork, and two of the three artists there that night can now be heard on this single. Sam Bartells is closer to alt country than he is to alt folk, and has been studying his craft in Nashville, but like many Kiwis he has been in his home country again for quite some time. Here he has utilised the talents of Mema Wilda to really take this song to a new level and having heard them perform it the other week I am so extremely glad indeed to be able to sit back and just relax in the luxuriousness of it.

Where We'll Go is a song which is based around acoustic guitar and Sam’s vocals, but it has been delicately arranged so there is room for mandolin, bass, steel, and piano (as well as drums which are sparing, but exactly right). It was recorded in NZ with Sam and his bandmate Mitch French, and then additional instruments were added as well as a new mix with his producer DR Ford in Nashville. Sam already had the vocals recorded, but felt it needed something more, which is when he asked Mema Wilda to become involved and they re-recorded them.

The song is bookended by Sam singing without Mema, but apart from that she is there throughout, providing some wonderful harmonies. The song is a slow builder, and it climaxes with both hitting high, and it is here where the power and drama really comes through. It ends with Sam on his own again, and even though the song is only a fraction over three minutes in length it feels like we have been through a real journey, as emotionally we are taken along, lifted, and then gradually brought back down to earth.

It is an incredibly polished production, yet at the same time it feels vital and real: one is taken in by the voices, with the music accompaniment providing the perfect backdrop. For anyone who enjoys folk, country, or singer-songwriter, this is something incredibly special indeed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

Releases

Let's Go
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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