Don Michael Sampson

Old Wood Bridge

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Old Wood Bridge is the strongest of the three solo albums released by prolific singer/songwriter Don Michael Sampson in early 2002, but only by a hair, as all of Sampson's releases, which can be filled with profound bits of understatement, have their own particular strengths. Recorded in a backwoods cabin in Tennessee, Old Wood Bridge contains 24 original songs that cover two discs, the more pragmatically themed of the two entitled Plow the Fields, the more spiritually inclined one, Jesus on the Mainline. The second contains song titles like "Easy Healing Wind," "Devil's Curse," and "Sacred Song," while on the first he sings of barbed wire and hammers and nails. "US Road," which is just shy of six minutes long, is an impressionistic highway account that recalls Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. And "Mockingbird Song" has a fluidity that is more a rule than an exception with Sampson's material, and that quality, one that can lend a sameness to less-accomplished efforts, here flourishes with repeated listening, which uncovers the nuances of expertly crafted riffs and chord progressions and intimate, seamless narratives.

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