Sam Price and the True Believers celebrate debut album at Chickie Wah Wah on Saturday, 4/1

Sam Price is best known around town and across the country as the irrepressible pogoing bass player of the Honey Island Swamp Band. But he has always harbored a dream of playing and recording his own music. Over the last year or so, he has put together a band, performed multiple shows, and on Saturday will celebrate the release of his first solo recording with his band at Chickie Wah Wah.

The album showcases Price’s songwriting and vocals. It also features four special guests. Guitarist John Fohl, a former long time member of Dr. John’s band, and saxophonist Tom Fitzpatrick, known for his decades with Walter “Wolfman” Washington, are on the first song, “Right Where I Want To Be, “ which is arguably a mission statement for Price.

Trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce plays a blistering solo on “Down To You” and raises the energy of the band leading into a searing solo from guitarist Matt Galloway. Bloom rips another solo to bring the song home. On this cut as throughout the album, backing vocalist Whitney Alouisious provides deep soul wailing suggesting she’s a breakout star in the making.

The centerpiece of the album is the ballad “Sign of Me.” Featuring slide guitarist Duncan Symonds, the song is a plaintive clarion call that will resonate with every toiling artist and perhaps all of humanity. “This I promise myself… as witnessed by the sky and the tree…gonna send out a message…leave some footprints down by the river…I wanna leave some sign of me.”

Though Price doesn’t sing lead with the Honey Island Swamp Band, he has always had a strong presence as a backing vocalist. On the new recording, he really showcases his pipes. Of course, his work as a bass player has never been in doubt. And unlike some other rhythm section players who produce their own albums, the bass is no more prominent than the other instruments in the mix.

I would be remiss to fail to mention the other rhythm players on the album. Conga Mike and drummer Ethan Shorter are strong players who bring a Latin flavor to proceedings. Phil Breen’s percolating keyboards standout as well.

Price’s new album is an antidote for these times we are living in. Relentlessly positive with the bass on the cover sporting a peace sign—I’m surprised Prince didn’t think of it—the music is summed up in the final cut, “keep on pushing…keep on living… keep on shining like you always do…keep on pushing ‘til we make our dreams come true.”

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