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Big Dark City: A bar-room ballad

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Music is only as good as the message it speaks to its audience.

In the case of Sam Marine’s Big Dark City, the message is clear: music finds a way to speak to upbeat and the downtrodden with Marine at the helm.

Red Dirt Report was able to get a sneak preview of the album which is to be released on November 17.

Big Dark City is a five-track EP with the potential to be a full-scale album. With enough originality and perseverance, it could shake out of the shambles of being played only in bars across the country.

Marine and his five-man band have been in the music industry since 2013. His first two albums, Lacktown and New Home, were hits in the niche community of grassroots rock and roll. 

From Gainesville, Florida then New York City and now only Los Angeles, Marine has traveled from coast-to-coast honing his craft.

A press release from KG Music Press wrote, “With Big Dark City, Whelan [producer] and Marine took a few weeks carefully arranging the music on acoustic guitars and singing without microphones as they sat on Whelan’s front porch.”

The effort of fine-tuning each song shows in each track. There is no weak link in the EP and can provide an individual story for each tune.

“Big Dark City”, the featured track, is a story of a Sunday night lonely by the bar side. An excellent tempo is matched with a clean guitar riff to make one feel the heat of the neon bar sign and the smell of a Marlboro film in the ashtrays.

“Turned on the lights so I could see what I was looking for/Grabbed some cash and headed out for maybe just one more,” Marine sings. “And I ain’t really been to sleep for very long just yet/I’m a couple drinks ahead of you, I bet.”

As the guitar fades from the speakers, the next song on the EP ramps up the sound by a harder, harsher rock beat.

“Dawn Come And Gone” expresses the new form of rock and roll that lacks drive on the radio today. Though rock and soulful music may move the masses, club beats will forever sell.

But I digress.

What this EP offers is a wide variety of stories with a sense of unabashed confidence. Of course, with any new artist, you’ll have to use your personality to your advantage. Much like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, Marine uses this cool nature to make people feel at ease.

By the time “Dawn Come And Gone” faded out, I could feel my feet tapping to the floor of my car. I was ready for another track and another. It was a sound that I had heard only a few times in my life. Perhaps it was my childhood when my father showed me a few of his rock and roll blues records.

Regardless, the sound was there.

It wasn’t until track four that I felt the impression of Marine’s music on the listeners. The track was called “I’ll Soon Be Gone”. It was an homage to wanting to leave somewhere desperately but not knowing what lies on the other side.

For those who don’t have the wanderer in their hearts, you’ll never understand.

For those who can relate, I’d take heed of this one. It’s the mellow rock paired with the lyrics sung by a gravely toned Marine that sells the idea of a man desperate for something bigger than himself.

It was one of the few times I got goosebumps listening to a single track from an EP.

Sam Marine has been in the music business for four years after working on producing internet shows such as College Humor and Jake and Amir. It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that this talented of a musician can be considered an amateur in the field.

The biggest crime in this day and age is the idea that Marine may not achieve success as a musician until patrons of newer music begin to take chances and pick up albums like Big Dark City.

As for Sam Marine, we’ll be looking forward to his inevitable rise in the music industry.

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About the Author

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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