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ALBUM REVIEW: Carter Sampson - Wilder Side
By Anastasia K - 02/24/2016 - 05:31 PM EST

Artist: Carter Sampson
Album: Wilder Side
Genre: Country/Folk
Sounds Like: Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Wilder Side, Highway Rider, Medicine River
CD Review: “Wilder Side” is Carter Sampson’s fourth full-length album. The self-penned “Queen of Oklahoma” has won a lot of awards over the years (check out the list on her website); now, I’m not one to measure an artist by their awards, but after listening to this album, I think she is well-deserving of such prizes. Based on the fact that she performs over 200 shows per year, she obviously loves her craft. And it shows!

From the opening note of the title track “Wilder Side”, I instantly started to tap my foot, and the smile on my face just grew and grew, as I resonated with the words I was hearing. And I have been humming and singing this piece since.

Her vocals have a rich, warm tone, with shots of power thrown in at the right moments; pleasantly smooth and heartfelt. The sound of her guitar has a country twang, which makes me want to put my cowboy boots on, get behind the wheel of my car, my guitar in the back seat (of course!), and drive off to anywhere that is open and free. But all the while, this little road trip is littered and dotted with slices of life, love, and what makes us feel alive.

Her lyrics are poignant. They compel you to lean in and listen, as if to say, “tell me more.” There are quite a few clever lines in these tunes that made me chuckle at times. “C’est la vie till I die”; “Time is money, and I got nothing but time” (both from “Highway Rider”).

Carter Sampson's “Wilder Side” is aptly titled – it feels like a deep-driven wild spirit, which is patiently and effectively expressed. The longing for open road and freedom with the need for life and love thrown in -- the need to live and love and be free-spirited all in one. I have a feeling this will be on my playlist for a long, long while. And Carter Sampson's "reach" is going to be huge, if it isn’t already.

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