Sammy Tenuta came out of a very different scene than the one he's in now; he was the singer and leader in loud, driving rock bands that headlined most of the big venues in the Chicago club scene up through the late nineties. He's moved on, in reality, he's moved back to where most of that music started anyway; his new EP "Stay a Little Longer" is purely acoustic -- one guitar played live, one vocal, all about the songs, just the way that really good solo acoustic and solo vocal records should be. Well, all about the songs and how you play them.
He's an unusually effective arranger of parts for acoustic guitar; even when he was fronting full-out rock shows, he always played his acoustic. On "stay a little longer", a strong and compelling collection of four melancholy, thoughtful songs, he puts more change and progression into a solo acoustic than most people can arrange for a band. That's part of why his songs are so effective in such a minimal form; the other reason is that he's not afraid to venture into lyrical explorations that take a while to absorb, but resonate emotionally from the first time you ride through them.
"You get more of a vibe off of people, you get more focused listeners -- it's different," Tenuta explains. "There's a time and a place for a party atmosphere, and there's a time and a place for intimacy, but ninety-nine percent of the time I like the intimacy better. When I play more intimate gigs, people make me feel like I'm part of the neighborhood, maybe even part of their family."
Here's his song "Stay", the first track on the new EP: