SAMMY RAE & THE FRIENDS
MAXXMUSIC, Neighborhood Theatre at Neighborhood Theatre
Tickets: $20 adv/$25 dos (plus sales tax and service fee) *Tickets available online only*
18+ Valid ID required for entry into venue / Under 18 permitted with parent (Accepted forms of ID: State Issued ID or Driver's License, Military ID, Passport.)
SAMMY RAE & THE FRIENDS
Soul / Jazz / Funk / Rock
Foras much as Sammy Rae & The Friends may be a band, this collectiveof, dreamers, and artists considers itself a family first.
Frontedby singer and songwriter Sammy Rae, the group flourishes in any spotlight witha combination of all-for-one and one-for-all camaraderie, palpable chemistry, deftvirtuosity, and vocal fireworks. Their sound is a mélange of Sammy’sinfluences, rooted in classic rock, folk, and funk and sprinkled with soul and jazz. Complete with a rhythm section, horn section, keyboards, andtwo backup singers, Sammy Rae & The Friends have or will deliver theirhigh-energy, spirited and unrestrained shows to sold-out audiences in theNortheast and beyond, including New York City’s Brooklyn Steel, Boston’s The Royal,LA the Teregram, Burlington’s Higher Ground, and Chicago’s Lincoln Hall.
“Becausewe come from so many different spaces and studies of music, we’re able tocreate something very unique,” Sammy states. “We learn from one another aswe’re playing together. We’re grateful to have found people who speak the samelanguage, but also speak their own. We have a vision for longevity. The onlyway that works is if we behave as a family. We’re all very grateful to have thesupport of one another. This is a large group of people where everyone plays animportant role. It’s the lunch table I always wanted as a kid.”
SammyRae & The Friends built this kind of trust one show at a time. As the storygoes, our fearless leader grew up in Derby, CT, learned piano, and penned herfirst crop of songs at just 12-years-old. Under the spell of everyone from Queen to Ella Fitzgerald to BruceSpringsteen, she honed her voice. By high school, she cut her teeth in localvenues, even releasing a series of independent solo records before college. NewYork eventually called to the songstress as she enrolled in Manhattan Collegeduring 2013. Toughing it out tooth and nail in The Big Apple, she left college in 2014 to pursue music full-timeand threw down at countless gigs while continuing to write and record ata prolific pace. At the same time, crowds doubled with every rapturousperformance as they built an inclusive safe space for fans everywhere.
Meanwhile,they’ve racked up over 20 million streams on Spotify and have played festivalsalong The Revivalists, Lake Street Dive, ST Paul and The Broken Bones, andmore.
Theunit only grew stronger.
The band advocates forthe importance of their community. Avid music fans themselves, they pridethemselves on this original grass-roots, word-of-mouth growth. The Friends istheir community of followers, artists and creatives who help in the creation oftheir songs and sustenance of the project—their mixing engineer, bandphotographer, graphic designer, budget manager, and everyone who hangs aroundthe shows supporting the vision. Shows are safe spaces to feel overwhelmed withlove and acceptance. “Friends” in the audience are encouraged to dresshow they like, dance how they like, join the party and form person-to-personFriendships. Sammy Rae & The Friends shows are like a house party, a churchof rock and roll, and shot in the arm of affirmation of individuality.
“Overthe last two years, we really solidified the band identity,” she goes on.“Because of my bandmates’ support and that of the fan base, it gave me thecourage to try new things, move into abstract ideas, and be honest. It feltlike time to really tell my story without a filter.”
That’sjust what she did on “Jackie Onassis” and the piano ballad “Living Room Floor,”heralding Let’s Throw A Party. Igniting 2021, the single “Creo LoSientes” [feat. C-Bass] dips in and out of a Latin rhythm punctuated byhypnotic handclaps, boisterous horns, vintage synths, and a flirty bilingual refrainwith the Spanish lyrics penned by C-Bass, as informed by some of the band’s native-Spanishspeaking friends and family members.
“Iwanted to take a stab at a love song,” she recalls. “I had this idea of ‘TheTalking phase’. It’s the first couple weeks of a relationship where you knowsomething’s brewing. The song follows a budding romance as these two people arevery clear about how they feel, yet they haven’t explicitly stated it yet. Itgets lost in translation, so to speak. We have a wonderful Spanish speaking fan base, so I wanted theselyrics to capture vibe.”
Then,there’s the energetic, enthralling, and ebullient title track “Let’s Throw AParty.” It bottles the unpredictable and undeniable energy of the live showinto a genre-blurring anthem, flickering between moments of swinging bigband-style jazz, funkified guitar, heavenly harmonies, and grand piano blisscourtesy of Sammy.
“It’sthe song I’m most excited about,” she smiles. “I’ve always loved multi-partsong structures. I was thinking about aging with grace and a sense of humorinstead of resentment. It’s like, ‘I know the world is going to shit, butlet’s throw a party’. No matter what’s going on in the chaos, there’salways something to throw a party about.”
Inthe end, it’s not a party without Friends.
“Wewant to make feel-good music that encourages people to insert themselves intothe songs,” she leaves off. “Community is the biggest thing for us. When Iwrite these songs, it’s usually me and my banjo or me and a keyboard. I’m afolk artist who wants to be a Rockstar—and I’m a queer female band leader inNew York City. I just love music. I listen to music all day every day from alleras and genres. At the same time, I’m a people person who loves my friends. Now,we’re all in this together.”
Sammy Rae & TheFriends are working on new music due out early 2022.