Sam LewisSam Lewis
Album: Waiting On You
Label: Brash
Tracks: 12

One of Nashville's rising stars, Lewis isn't pushing any country envelopes, but this, his third album, is an easy listen, mixing together gospel, country, blues and soul with a voice that variously suggests James Taylor ('Waiting On You'), Sam Cooke ('She's A Friend') and Jesse Winchester ('Never Again') while numbers like 'Love Me Again' (one of three to feature the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals), 'She's A Friend' and the uptempo brassy swing of 'Things Will Never Be The Same' suggest he may have run into the occasional Van Morrison album along the way. The New Orleans feel of the piano backed 'Reinventing The Blues' even has a hint of Randy Newman.

Uptempo opening cut, '3/4 Time', is the most overtly country sounding track but Lewis slides smoothly between something like that and the churchy mood of 'Never Again' or the slow burn , organ backed r&b of 'Talk To Me' without ever feeling like he's just parading his versatility.

Nashville's top ranking session names provide the backing, among them Kenny Vaughan, Will Kimbrough and Darrell Scott on guitars, piano man Gabe Dixon and Willie Nelson harp blower Mickey Raphael while Oliver Wood twiddles the knobs and brings the rest of the family along to join Kristina Train on background vocals for country gospel album closer .I'm Coming Home.. Not one to ring your friends up and rave about, perhaps, but definitely one to slip into the player when they come over for a mellow evening.

Mike Davies