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Sammy Brue’s new band, Brue, in concert at The Monarch next Thursday

By Deann Armes - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Oct 7, 2021

Photo supplied, Austin Luckett/Iron Pine Co.

Sammy Brue laughs during an interview at The Monarch on Monday to discuss his new band, Brue, and their upcoming show next Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

It’s been a while since Sammy Brue played a show in Ogden. He is busy living life as a rapidly growing, full-time musician. Between writing songs, starting a new band and breaking free from his record label, the Ogden-based folk singer just got home from a monthlong tour opening for Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. He made time on Monday to talk about his band, Brue, during a stop at The Monarch, where their first official concert in Ogden will be held next Thursday, Oct. 14.

“It’s a good debut for Brue in Ogden,” the homegrown musician said of the upcoming all-ages show.

The band made an acoustic performance in July on “Van Sessions,” a live music podcast by The Banyan Collective, but this will be their first official show plugged in with full electric and a loud, punk sound.

Brue said he’s been finding the “yin and yang” lately between his acoustic folk and the “go all out and get loud and go crazy” punk, what he calls “really heavy folk songs.”

“It’s all based around folk,” he said of his music. “I’m trying to tell a story and have a moral of the story at the end and have someone get something good out of it.”

Photo supplied, Austin Luckett/Iron Pine Co.

Sammy Brue was at The Monarch this week for an interview about his upcoming show with new band, Brue.

It’s only natural for a musician like Brue to expand from his folk base, especially given his upbringing. He describes his parents as frequent concert-goers who exposed him to a lot of different styles of music from an early age. He recalled thinking in elementary school that all the kids his age were listening to bands like Nirvana, Old Crow Medicine Show, Avett Brothers … until he realized how different it was from the pop music that was being played on the radio. The other kids weren’t digging Kurt Cobain.

“Teenage Mayhem,” from his 2020 album “Crash Test Kid,” sparked the new punk stuff, he said, and also inspired the creation of a band. He’d made his own electric guitar and forced himself to get comfortable with it. “I’ve never been comfortable until now … to just get loud,” he said.

Originally, he wanted to start building a band for his acoustic stuff, but when they played “Teenage Mayhem” on electric they found their vibe. “It’s never been the same since,” Brue said. The band jams together and builds off whatever comes.

“My acoustic stuff is so intricate and I want it a certain way because it’s so personal to me,” he said. “But with Brue, I kinda don’t care as much how the bass and drums sound as long as they’re just up and running.”

Brue first played on a stage in front of a real audience at the age of 10 in Ogden, at the former all-ages music venue Mojos that was located on 22nd and Washington Boulevard. Later, he was discovered busking on the street during the Sundance Film Festival. Soon, he was picked up by a record label; “I Am Nice” (2017) was his first album with New West Records, followed by the EP “Down with Desperation” (2018).

Photo supplied, Austin Luckett/Iron Pine Co.

From folk to "heavy folk"/punk, Sammy Brue stopped by The Monarch to talk about his evolving music and new band, Brue.

The latest album, “Crash Test Kid,” co-written by Brue and Iain Archer, was like a “therapy session,” Brue jests. He recalls lying on a couch spilling his observations of the world at the time as Archer jotted it all down, everything on his mind: friends, drugs, society, heartbreak and other “personal stuff.” For “Teenage Mayhem,” he’d heard the guitar part in his head first and wrote the entire song in 30 minutes.

“Crash Test Kid” will be the last on the record label. Brue is on his own now, having come to realize over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic that it’s what he wanted.

“Being independent means being able to spend money how it needs to be spent and do the things that I want to do. … I don’t want to be told no,” he said with a smile.

Brue explained his fortune of having been exposed to the realities of being on a record label at a very young age. “Thank God I learned it now,” he said. “It’s the fans now.” And they’re showing up. There are already loyal Brue supporters who, according to Brue, “come to every show and buy a piece of merch because they know we’re doing this out of our own pocket.”

Leaving his record label also meant self-funding for the Lindsey Buckingham tour. No longer having tour support makes him think of the future more, he said. But, he and his friend Ian, who acted as his road manager, made it work. Together they drove a van, sleeping in parking lots and the occasional campsites.

Photo supplied, Austin Luckett/Iron Pine Co.

Sammy Brue is playing a rare concert with his new band, Brue, in Ogden at The Monarch on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

“The shows made up for everything that we were put through,” he said. People sat down to listen to the songs he played solo with his acoustic guitar, digesting the words, showing respect to him as an opener. “Most of the shows, you could hear a pin drop when I played. It was serious respect.”

I asked about “Paint It Blue,” telling him it’s my favorite of his songs. He lit up. “It’s one of my favorite songs!” he said. “I really enjoy playing that song.” At the shows playing for Buckingham, he said he’d point at the audiences every time with the last line, “I’m all f—– up … and so are you.” Because we all are, he said.

He calls the recent tour experience a lucky break. “I’ve been surrounding myself with good people who believe in me and want to make things happen as much as I do.”

Now he’s in the mindset of asking every day — what is it you’re gonna be doing? “Just keep moving this forward,” he said, “whether it’s small, like getting a verse of a song written … as long as you’re doing one thing a day to keep it moving, things are bound to happen.”

“Coming home is just as awesome as leaving,” he said. And now that he’s back, he is staying in the flow and open to ever-changing movement in his music.

“The songs I’m writing right now have a completely different vibe from ‘Crash Test Kid,'” he said. “It’s always just evolving. But it is folk at its root.”

Brue will play two songs from “Crash Test Kid” and all new songs at next week’s show, with support from local bands Imag!nary Friendz and future.exboyfriend. The latter, a “bedroom pop artist living in Salt Lake City,” is a friend of Brue’s from his Mojos days where they both played.

The Brue concert will be at The Monarch, 455 25th St. in Ogden, on Thursday, Oct. 14, starting at 6:30 p.m. While it’s an all-ages show, craft beer and hard seltzers will be available for the 21-and-over crowd. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at the link on the event page on Facebook @TheMonarchOgden or in person at the door the night of the show.

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