UNCLE SAMMY release their album “Unearthed” 18 years after recording!
Legendary New England jamband Uncle Sammy, who disbanded in 2003, have released a “new” studio album! Unearthed was eighteen years in the making – the album was originally recorded in 2002 with Uncle Sammy sound engineer Justin “Shaggy” Zipperle at his home studio in upstate NY.
The album was co-produced with Mike Keneally, known worldwide for his incredible guitar, keys, and vocal performances with his own band as well as tours with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Devin Townsend, and Frank Zappa. Mike plays an incendiary guitar solo on the track “In the Lab”.
Uncle Sammy toured extensively across the Northeast and East Coast from 1997 to 2003 and were well known for their high energy extended improvisations, creative and inventive writing, high level musicianship, and eclectic grooves. Led by the extraordinary management and promotional efforts of future Umphry’s McGee lighting director Jeff Waful; they shared the bill with The Disco Biscuits, STS9, The New Deal, Soulive, Max Creek, Jiggle the Handle, ulu, Brother’s Past, Peter Prince, The Breakfast, Addison Groove Project, Umphry’s McGee, Steve Smith’s Vital Information, and many others.
Richard Gehr of The Village Voice said of the band: “Uncle Sammy is a startlingly nimble, energetic, and spontaneous young quartet apparently comfortable jamming in just about any style of music…They amazed me recently with inventive jam after genre-shifting jam…Heavy in the chops department, and stylistically slippery to boot, Uncle Sammy improvises with a ceaselessly inventive prog-fusion edge”.
The members of Uncle Sammy displayed virtuosic abilities on their instruments and have all gone on to play in many other great bands:
Tom Arey: drums (J. Geils Band / Peter Wolf)
Max Delaney: guitar (Joel Streeter Band, Marc Brownstein)
Brian O’Connell: bass (Gordon Stone / The Steal Your Peach Band)
Beau Sasser: keyboards (Melvin Sparks / Kung Fu / Z3, Alan Evans Play on Brother)
Unearthed was unfortunately shelved when the Uncle Sammy dissolved in 2003, and the tracks were subsequently lost until early 2020 when they were brought to light by engineer Justin Zipperle. Bass player Brian O’Connell took the tracks, reassembled them, and had them mixed at the Berkshire Mountains studio of Frank Kennedy. Additional tracking was done by Beau Sasser at TELEFUNKEN electroacoustic in Connecticut. Long time Uncle Sammy insider Christopher Valle (who was originally slated for the job) provided the stunning cover artwork.
Unearthed is a double disc album that runs the full gamut of what Uncle Sammy was capable of: monstrous jamming peaks, soulful and funky rockers, compositional flights of fancy, hilarious asides, a dash of reggae, and a little something out of left field. Having release three live albums, these are the only Uncle Sammy studio tracks ever recorded. This album is only available on Bandcamp at this time.
Brian O’Connell comments: “We had such an amazing community of friends and fans around Uncle Sammy when we were out playing. These tracks are the result of years of hard work and love for the music. We hope our old fans enjoy reliving this awesome music and maybe some new listeners will be introduced to US and explore our many other live recordings at archive.org”.
Unearthed can be heard at: https://brianoconnell.bandcamp.com/album/unearthed-2
Uncle Sammy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Uncle-Sammy-102728391495080/
Uncle Sammy on Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/UncleSammy
I personally saw the band numerous times at major East Coast festivals like Berkfest, Gathering of the Vibes, and Wormtown. I remember one particular packed night at the Middle East Downstairs when Uncle Sammy was on the bill with ulu (if my distant memory serves me well.) This band was playing shows at a time when the jamband scene was exploding and the cadre of bands that were rocketing to national prominence was wide and deep, after the rise of Phish, Blues Traveler and Widespread Panic among others, there was room opening up for regional bands like Uncle Sammy to be introduced to audiences at the clubs and events that were vacated by those national band’s development.
The affable and at times goofy nature of the members of the band made them a favorite. Fans were left wondering “What If” when the band stopped performing together live. Unearthed somewhat answers that questions, giving fans old and brand new a chance to catch the mystical magic that was Uncle Sammy.
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