Sam Lardner home
May the duende always dance upon your shoulder. May the music of this people ease your mind. And may God give you the peace you hope to find. When morning comes.
From ‘When Morning Comes’ (2007)
Many people believe that the best-ever export to come from the US is music; American Sam Lardner’s new CD, Barcelona, aims to keep this reputation in tact. He’s made an album that is a melodic tribute to life and love in this city. Lardner first came to Barcelona in 1989, through a series of "dumb luck" circumstances, to play ice hockey for FC Barcelona; since then, Lardner said, he has found everything a man could need to make a home here.
He is married and raising four children, writing and translating songs, playing and touring with his band, producing CDs, and even finds time to publish the occasional fishing story for the likes of Sports Illustrated. When asked how he keeps it all together, he smiled and said, “Not without my share of conflict. When you get home from a gig at four, and the first kid is up at seven…well, you can see, there aren’t quite enough hours.”
Despite his numerous commitments, he has found time to produce and promote Barcelona, which he is now selling through an innovative project at the Hotel Arts. “Ninety-seven percent of new independent CDs sell fewer than 700 copies. Since last January, we have sold over 4,500 ourselves. By placing them in the rooms at the Hotel Arts, right beneath the Bang and Olufsen stereos, we are expecting to sell up to 30,000 a year. Whatever it takes to get the music out there. But the CDs will also be in stores soon.”
Lardner grew up in Connecticut, absorbing a solid musical education inspired by the likes of Carole King, James Taylor, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder. In 1994 he hit the road, guitar in hand, and travelled the US’s east and west coasts playing coffee shops, bars and festivals. “In the US there is a very defined circuit. You start as an opener and work your way up until finally you are a headliner. So when I came back here in 1997, I asked, ‘Where do I begin?’”
With an absence of a logical club circuit in Catalunya, Lardner adapted by assembling an eight-piece country band that played every Wednesday night at the Sutton Club on Carrer Tuset. That eventually led to gigs from Castellón to Perpignan as one of Europe’s best country acts, before the group disbanded on friendly terms in 2005. “When the art stops, there is no reason to stay, unless you are making a king’s ransom, which we weren’t.”
Fast forward to 2007, and Lardner’s new fusion band has just finished a third US tour with some excellent results. The diverse venues ranged from The Living Room, a hipster mecca on New York City’s Lower East side, to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, a descendant of Woodstock, complete with pouring rain and 10,000 undaunted hippies.
The influences of his time in Barcelona are everywhere in his new tunes. Lardner’s blue eyes lit up when he talked about writing music. “It starts with a melody, and if you listen carefully the words come out of the music. I try to create a story in the most colourful and economical way. There’s not much time in a song.”
Barcelona is currently available at
www.cdbaby.com and on iTunes