Track listing: Walk Away, Casino El Camino, Santa Clara, I'm a Train
A.M. Sessions is the debut release from North Bay, California singer/songwriter S.R. Laws. Offstage known less formally as Scott, he brings this album and musical project to light after spending a number of years in clubs from Northern California to Austin, standing just to the left and right of centerstage as a bassist and backing vocalist. With A.M. Sessions, however, he steps confidently into the bright shine of the spotlight.
The album represents years of listening, many hours onstage and in the recording studio offering his insight and musicality to others. Laws even studied recording and engineering formally at Full Sail University learning the nuances of sound and how to create the appropriate vibe when a songwriter needs a sound that's more "brown." This broad range of experience is evident throughout A.M. Sessions.
The album is relaxed mid-tempo Americana, capturing in each song the rhythmic pocket Laws is known for creating on bass. But while the sound is professionally tight it thrives from its natural organic emotion, not at all over-produced. His lyrics simply tell first-person stories from his own life. Nothing fancy, he's not writing to impress--he pours himself, as is, into each phrase and melody. Through forthright lyrics that are personal and earnest, S.R. Laws composes lyrical pictures, taking snapshots from the most common walks of life filtered through his own joy and tribulations.
"Natural," "simple," and "nothing fancy" is not to say A.M. Sessions doesn't pack some surprises. S.R. Laws knows good musicians and brought a number of them on board for the album. You've got Nathan Prowse's tasty, soulful Hammond B3 on "Walk Away." Then David Luning adds a light bouncy piano to "Casino El Camino," which also features Dave Sampson's plucky/gritty lead guitar, sounding like a back room of a Texas roadhouse. And the outro trumpet solo in "I'm a Train" performed by Joshua James Jackson sounds dirty and smoky as if it had been recorded in a Bourbon Street jazz bar just before closing time.
A.M. Sessions is worth your while. It's on sale now at srlawsmusic.com/music, where you can also sign up for S.R. Laws' email list. While he does do the social media thing a bit, his email list is where it's at.