Newly minted Angeleno Sam Marine will release his third cd, Big Dark City, on November 17th. Produced by Brian Whelan, the five-track outing delivers a smokin’ dose of straight up roots rock that’s all at once edgy, personal, complex, dark, and vulnerable. Marine and company (Whelan on guitar and organ, Mitch Marine on drums, and Aaron Stern on bass) kick things off with the thumping percussion and driving guitars of the title track, a tune that’s permeated with an underlying sense of both unease and excitement, “I ain't really been to sleep for very long just yet/I'm a couple drinks ahead of you I'll bet.”
From there Big Dark City segues into the urgency of “Dawn Come and Gone,” which begins with echoes of Mellencamp then travels to warp speed as he laments finding himself alone after a night of tending bar (Marine also works as a bartender), the pounding, anthemic “Freeze Em Out,” and the weighty “I’ll Soon be Gone,” where Marine’s rasp conveys the inner turmoil of self-imposed emotional isolation, “Nobody really knows me, good enough to know something's wrong/Sitting here all alone all night, clenching on my jaw.” Big Dark City closes with “Mike Lee,” a warm tribute to a good friend who passed way, and a song that provides the perfect closer, offering a dose of comfort in the fact that even though the city is often big, dark, and lonely, there are still good people who have your back.
While one may have to be cautious in the city after the sun goes down, you needn't be wary of this Big Dark City as each track offers Marine's insights into life's complexities that are deliberate, reflective...and intoxicating.