Chat with Sam Quinn and you’ll find that he is quite witty, armed with a self-deprecating humor that is both charming and engaging. Strap a guitar on him, though, and Quinn metamorphoses, oozing melancholy with every minor chord and quavering lyric. Quinn rose to the forefront of the indie folk scene as a member of The Everybodyfields with his dour, glass-isn’t-just-empty-it’s-smashed-on-the-floor songwriting. Since that duo’s recent demise, this Neil Young-meets-Napoleon Dynamite songster took some time to get himself together, assembled a band with some of East Tennessee’s finest musicians, and recently released a new batch of delightfully depressing tunes.
This Just In:
The Fake That Sunk a Thousand Ships, a collection of 10 new tunes that were mostly penned during Quinn’s recent, self-described “difficult year,” was released by Ramseur Records in May. Throughout the new record, Quinn sings of the most universal emotion—sadness—with his trademark voice, one that is equal parts whisper, wail, and moan, and, on any other artist, would most certainly sound contrived. But, because Quinn delves into the pain most often hidden deep within the murkiest creases of the human soul, his voice works perfectly.
In His Own Words:
“When I am writing, if it doesn’t move me or affect me on a personal level when I get down to the meat of the situation, I usually abandon it. It’s like going down the wrong way in a maze. A lot of the time, it is an exorcising of demons. There’s a total catharsis that goes on there. And I can be really rolled by it and not know exactly where it came from.”
Outside Looking In:
“There are few songwriters that write with such honesty as Sam Quinn, and there are even fewer who perform with such emotion,” says Justin Fedor of The New Familiars. “With a wonderful cast of players backing him up, Sam Quinn & The Japan Ten is quickly becoming my new favorite band.”