Sam Green and the Time Machine’s first two albums on Spotify, 2013’s Players All Are We and its follow-up For the Good of All boast many outstanding songs. He depicts everyday lives with pleasing economy during songs such as “I Work”. Light percussion, flute, and acoustic guitar lead the musical way but Green sprinkles other colors into the mix. Some demanding listeners may object to his reliance on time-tested imagery heard during tracks such as “Water Is Life”. These songs aren’t guilty of imitation, however. It is clear Green often aims for straddling a line between tradition and individuality and the key phrases in this song success, in part, thanks to their familiarity. Applying them in a personal context frees them from any mooring in the past, however. Your mileage, of course, may vary.
The acapella “Have the Seasons Changed?” is a successful experiment, by any measure, and shows how even non-traditional singers can fill a recording with presence and emotion. The track’s theme crops up time after time in Green’s songwriting but seldom does it receive the same imaginative and nakedly emotional treatment it does here. For the Good of All’s “Seven Lonely Children” is one of the album’s fully realized tracks. The arrangement and words complement each other from beginning to end and the production values capture the song with an even hand. The vocals are accentuated some, but only enough to add some evocative dramatics to the recording.
Listen to the top tracks from Sam Green and the Time Machine
Another 2013 studio recording, I Think It’s About Time, boasts more than a few outstanding songs. Tracks such as the opener “Love is Everywhere”, “Life Is So Fine”, and “Remember Me My Old Friend” are brimming with emotion, cinematic in scope, The rhythmic physicality stirred by the opener propels the album off the blocks with considerable oomph while the musicianship during “Remember Me My Old Friend” and “Life Is So Fine” will dismiss any lingering ideas that Green is a simple-minded old folkie. The bass playing during both “Life Is So Fine” and “Remember Me My Old Friend” is remarkably melodic.
The affection he holds for his Australian homeland comes across during the song “Sydney’s Coming My Way”. The second track from 2013’s Words for the Wise has a gentle acoustic loop carrying listeners from the opening onward. Hearing this song, you don’t detect any sort of ironic distance from its subject matter – he’s straight-forward about his sentiments and it connects with the same effortless magic present in Green’s best tracks. The crisp and sparkling guitar playing opening “Clouds Over England” from 2017’s The Time Has Come Again simmers during its opening strands before achieving a full-throated strum. It is another example of how his songwriting inhabits a far-flung realm rather than confining itself to a few subjects and settings.
“As We Rise” from 2018’s Hoch Poch Album ranks among his most significant songwriting statements. His poetic touch is sure; the images are well-chosen and Green never weighs his language down with any ornamental fat. His latest album available on Spotify, Ten Parts of the Journey, has several exceptional tracks. “Day of Peace” is among the album’s standout moments thanks to the marvelous duet between Green’s voice and beautifully phrased steel guitar. Sam Green and the Time Machine is an ideal vehicle for showing off his songwriting talents and, without a doubt, there’s something for everyone on each of these releases.