Sam Roberts

We Were Born in a Flame
(Lost Highway)

Like Dave Matthews, Canadian singer-songwriter Sam Roberts is a bit charismatically challenged. Despite his long hippie hair and Christ-like beard, Roberts is an average-looking guy who can appear a bit dorky when he strikes a rock star pose on stage, but that's offset by an ability to crank out anthemic, hook-heavy, proto-rock tunes with a band that boasts inventive lead guitarist Dave Nugent and the powerhouse rhythm section of bassist James Hall and drummer Corey Zadorozny. "Don't Walk Away Eileen" was already a hit in Canada last year, and should follow suit here with its bellowing, sing-along chorus and driving melody. "Every Part of Me" is a Merseybeat romp that sounds like Gerry and the Pacemakers singing Ray Davies. "On the Run" is a riff-heavy modern rocker. And "Dead End" starts out echoing every British band of the past 30 years before it shifts gears into a gritty blues-rock jam that lets the band strut its stuff.

 
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