Melodic, thoughtful, and beautifully arranged, An Introduction is the remarkably accomplished debut album by singer-songwriter Sam Pinkerton. Highlighted by Pinkerton’s ethereal vocals, the 11 songs combine to offer a portrait of an artist who knows exactly who she is at this early moment in her career.
Replete with finger-picked guitar and skeletal acoustic piano lines, Pinkerton and co-producer Alena Moran establish an atmosphere of dreamy, sometimes melancholic, rumination. On “Stay Here,” stately strings provide a foundation to support the surging vocals. Percussion is used sparingly throughout, usually as sympathetic ornamentation rather than the driving force behind any given song. Songs like “Seattle” and “You Never Will” build slowly, purposefully, to weighty crescendos.
One thing Pinkerton never loses sight of is the vital importance of song structure. Her melodies flow naturally, but never predictably. There’s often a surprising twist that keeps her songs interesting and worth revisiting. The hooks sink in over time, rather than announcing themselves in a blaring chorus. That said, hear the gorgeous refrain of “I Will Never Fall in Love with You” (a tender duet with Chase Lawrence) once, and you’re liable to have it stuck in your head on permanent repeat.
There’s a maturity in Pinkerton’s craft that creates the impression of an old soul, years into a lengthy journey. But this is just the first step for her, however self-assured it may be. To put it another way, she’s a natural. Her lyrics cover emotional turmoil with a refreshingly direct, unpretentious clarity. The music here is at once timeless and au courant, firmly rooted in the contemporary folk sound of bands like The Lumineers.
An Introduction is currently available for download at all the usual outlets, including Amazon and iTunes. Physical CDs can be purchased through Pinkerton’s own website, where you can also keep up with her latest appearances. Expect to hear a lot from her in the future.