Imagine that everything in your music career is in perfect alignment at age 21. You have six singles riding high on the charts, your music is on top, and you are just about to break through to making it big. The next day, you wake up in a hospital recovering from a near death experience of being shot only to find out that your best friend is dead from the same attack. Could you go on to play and record ever again? This is a nutshell is what happened to Sammy Sadler. He left the business to find a new life--but the music kept calling him back. 15 years later, he is back--singing and performing the music he was meant to.
     Though Sammy Sadler had been away from performing, you would swear he never took a day off from his music. He has an enthusiasm and vigor in his performances that only comes from deep inside.
I know a Place" kicks off Sammy's CD as the opening track. It is a terrific country rocker with acoustic guitar mixed with sliding pedal guitar and penetrating electric guitars. Sammy's emotionally charged voice quickly grabs your attention. Pure, simple and full of energy, he drives the song. Clever counter-play between the instruments creates lots of interest.
     The mellow, "
Any Four Walls", tells a sad story of past love and hurt keeping a girl from loving again. The musical backdrop is perfect for this song, each note is arranged and played with perfection. Sammy's voice amplifies the pleading in the song's words.
     The melancholy, "
Freedom Feels Like Loneliness Today", is a sad story of a couple breaking up. Sammy croons against a pretty backdrop of piano and keyboards. A beautiful but short solo steel solo tops the song off.
That Ole Gravel Road" is a country rocker. Sammy and fellow musicians strut their stuff as Sammy comes back to the refrain "that ole gravel road was easy street". I especially like how tight the band is--the fiddle provides punctuated drive while the steel, keyboard, guitar, bass and drums tear up the tune.
     The bluesy, "
Nobody Knows", lets Sammy stretch his voice to the top. A great sax solo graces the tune. Sammy shows he can bend a Rhythm and Blues song into a fully countrified tune.
Hard On A Heart" opens with haunting steel guitar. Sammy's voice is crystal clear and dynamically recorded. This is a perfect song to showcase Sammy's storytelling style of singing that is always packed with belief, expression and emotion.
     Rocking guitars and pedal steel open the driving "
Wild Thing In Me". This song is destined for airplay. It will get your feet tapping and your body moving. The backing guitar augment with riff after riff followed by a burning guitar solo.
     The beautiful "
No Place To Land" opens with keyboard, guitar and chimed mandolin. Sammy's honest voice poses the observation about love, "When you are ready to fall… there is no place to land."
Sweet Distraction" is a terrific rocker with a solid bottom set up by the bassist and drummer. Sammy reports that he is so distracted by his gal he may get fired at work. Precise accompaniment and Sammy's enthusiastic voice make this song repeat again and again on my player.

     "It's Killing Me To Watch Love Die" is a slow song. I would expect this tune on jukeboxes everywhere. It has Sammy's signature on every word. Special recognition should go to the band as they support Sammy's voice with perfection in every note they play.
     To leave you with a summary, Sammy's "Hard On A Heart" CD is one that will grow higher on your favorite CD list with each subsequent listen. He has an honest voice that speaks to the heart. The production qualities on this CD are amazing while the musicians' work is impeccable. Every song could easily be a country hit. With Sammy's new beginning we can see how right it was for him to return to music. Anything less would be a tremendous loss for our ears. Stop by Sammy's website and read more about this remarkable musician. You can find links to sample the songs and pick up a copy through his site as well.
~ Steve Ekblad

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