Live Report: Sammy Rae & The Friends at The Royale (3/27/22)

Artist: Sammy Rae & The Friends

Venue: The Royale

Date: March 27, 2022

The mantra of the friends is:

“Go put a smile on somebody’s face, go tell somebody they’ve got a place in this world, go tell somebody you wanna be Friends with them.”

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a Sammy Rae & The Friends concert at the Royale in Boston, MA. I was familiar with their music, but it took them one live song to make me fall in love. Sammy Rae (Samantha Bowers,) herself, is a natural showman and the energy of the room was high from minute one.

Rae grew up in the small town of Derby, Connecticut. Rae started as a songwriter at the age of 12, inspired by the work of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Freddie Mercury. I can see this influence in her the poetics of her lyrics, and skill at storytelling. However, her undeniable singing voice lends itself more toward big band jazz sounds, conjuring the voices of Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Sarah Vaughn.

Rae’s voice sounds unbelievable on the studio recording, and sounds exactly the same in person. Her technical skill is insane, singing runs and octave jumps like it’s nothing. For a performer this good, she had to have a band that could keep up with her, and that she did. The Friends include: C-Bass Chiriboga on drums, James Quinlan on bass, Will Leet on guitar/keys, Myra Moon on backing vocals, Kaya Kulu on backing vocals, Max Zooi  on tenor saxophone/synths, and Kellon Anderson on alto saxophone.

If you want to listen to Sammy Rae & The Friends, I would recommend the song, “Jackie Onassis.” Listening for the first time is a lovely experience; it’s beautiful, its sapphic, and it will get stuck in your head. My other favorites are “The Good Life,” ”Flesh and Bone,” and, “Kick It to Me;” however, I have many favorites!

I believe there are few performers that have the presence of Sammy Rae. She can truly make you feel like the only person in the room even in a crowd of hundreds. The music will put a smile on your face; if you want music that captures the feeling of falling in love, look no further.

As put by the band themselves:

”The Friends is the community of followers, artists and creatives who help in the creation of the songs and the world. We don’t have fans, we have Friends.”

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