Sammy Jay Dawson comes from Springfield, Canterbury, a farming town not well known for its musical pedigree. A student of Christchurch’s jazz school he has been in hard rock bands in the past, but here returns to the sounds of his youth – a blues rock album with shades of country woven through it. It is a well-written, well-recorded album with passionate performances.
‘Songs From Smokey Mountain’ gets off to a strong start with Crazy Kid, jumping straight into bar room blues, before travelling through quieter, slightly more generic country and blues. I’m In The Mood For You picks up the pace again, a slinky blues-rock track that includes some epic guitar soloing. There are a number of slower songs in the second half of the album, but things are re-energised with the funky Hey! Mr Moon. A couple of tracks too long, and perhaps lacking enough variety, I enjoyed the album’s raw energy and an exuberance that’s missing from many music releases.