Occasionally when doing this “job”, one comes across an individual who sounds, at least at first acquaintance, to have genuine star potential.

I’ve been wrong about this before, but I’m wrong to take another punt on today’s tip, Samm Henshaw.

He’s a soulful chap, our Sam, and the song ‘Redemption’, aside from channelling Marley in the title, is stuffed with soul-blues tropes from start to finish.

As if to assuage any doubt as to what the vibe is here, there’s five seconds of fake vinyl noise before guitars moan and blues harp wails, backed by the sparsest of handclap accompaniment.

Lyrically this is heavy on God and the pain of life, Henshaw’s faultless performance evoking such luminaries as John Legend, Terence Trent D’Arby, and even mimicking Stevie Wonder’s vocal acrobatics – check out the primal squeal at 3.06.

Even though he’s capable of keeping the mainstream happy with upbeat, love-laden electric piano ditties too, ‘Redemption’ proves Henshaw can tackle heavier topics, an essential trait for a career beyond the one-hit-wonder dead end down which so many new soul discoveries seem to find themselves stuck.

So I’m going to go all in on Samm Henshaw: he’s got the voice, the material, and the extra ‘m’ in his name – what more could one ask for?

Words by Martin Sharman

Tipped by Mattia from Going Solo

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