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Album review: Carter Sampson – "WILDER SIDE"

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Rusty's Score
5 Rustys

OKLAHOMA CITY – Carter Sampson’s newest record, Wilder Side, genuinely makes me sad that I no longer have a radio show. Each track is like one kick to my shin that I packed up and moved away, leaving behind one of the most important things I ever did in my life. You really don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.

And really, I’m not lamenting missing the sound of my own voice as much as I am depressed that I want to share this album with the whole world (or as large a local circle as possible), to ensure I did what I could to make sure that everyone had a chance to check it out. And love it. And buy it. And play it in their own homes. Or cars.

But, for now, I guess this review will have to do.

Right from the righteous opening number, the title track with a gorgeous late 70s Cali-country sound that permeates the disc, the listener is immediately hooked. The moody “Highway Rider” and sassy “Holy Mother” continue this Highway 101 classic rock sound—don’t worry hipsters, that’s not a bad word—the spiritual successors to Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles sunkissed Americana, not afraid to rock, and like a tumbleweed drifting across the Mojave, definitely not afraid to roll.

With her “wide open roads and wide open sky,” the affirmative “Everything You Need” squeezes at the heart, while “Take Me Home with You” is a plaintive plea the keep that heart safe and sound. The Gospel-tinged “Tomorrow’s Night” is a celebratory mandatory mix-tape addition to any cross-country drive, something that’s only enforced by the punctuated hand-claps of the twangy neo-spiritual “See the Devil Run.” “Gather round, good people” and see what an epic album closer should sound like.

With her ever evolving sound reaching a new apex, Sampson might have just released her masterpiece. Wilder Side is a brave statement of unrestrained soul in a fraudulent city driven by barren drones releasing one tight-panted time-thieving funeral dirge after another; this is the sound of joy, pain, hopefulness, fate, fear, honesty and the wind blowing through your hair as you cruise down the California coast, or, at the very least, around Lake Hefner a couple of times, if you’re a trapped local. 

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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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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