The Old-Time Herald Volume 14, Number 7

Sam Gleaves: Coming Into His Own
By Paul O. Jenkins
Photo: Kopana Terry
There is so much wrong,
you ain’t scared to say it
Take out your guitar and play it
Do what you came to do
Sing the people through

Though this sentiment from “Angel in the Ashes” is dedicated to Joan Baez, it could very well apply to the song’s author himself. Sam Gleaves is not afraid to confront the injustice, discrimination, and intolerance he sees in contemporary America, but he does so with a skill remarkable for someone his age. To borrow a phrase from his song, the 23-year-old Virginian is on a musical mission to sing the people through to better times. Inspired by the mountain music he reveres, Gleaves creates songs with both a traditional feel and a contemporary message. Like his light tenor, his pieces are gentle but insistent. Their beauty belies the strength of their convictions.

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