Sam Cash: Born Into The Business

Sam Cash [Cameron] Prints 67

What is in a name? It turns out, there is quite a lot.

If you happen to be the child of an already established singer or entertainer, some would assume you’ve got it made. But for Sam Cash, son of acclaimed Canadian musician (and current NDP member of Parliament) Andrew Cash, proving himself is a never-ending journey. Not that he isn’t up for the challenge, of course.

Together with his band the Romantic Dogs, Sam released his sophomore record Stand Together, Fall Together this past September. Performing as the support group for July Talk at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge this evening, Sam tells the Times & Transcript that his decision to venture into music was something that didn’t really surprise anyone.

“Both my father and my mother definitely played a big part in influencing my decision to get into music,” Sam says from an Ottawa tour stop earlier this week.”My mother managed a number of different bands and as a young boy, like many other young boys, I looked up to my father and what he was doing. My Dad spent a lot of time touring which just seemed like the coolest thing ever. I remember being six years old and knowing that I wanted to write songs.”

Sam insists that while his parents were supportive of his decision to get into the music business, it is not one that they forced upon him.

“We listened to a lot of music at home and while it wasn’t necessarily a recreational activity for me, my parents let me stumble into it on my own. It was something that would have been hard to avoid if I had wanted to do so.”

When Sam was around 18 years old, he released his first album, Teenage Hunger . A considerably more folk-oriented offering than the Elvis Costello-influences heard on Stand Together, Fall Together , he says that he was fortunate to have received contributions from many notable musicians including singer-songwriter Hayden, Serena Ryder and more, for the record.

“I grew up in an extremely supportive community of musicians. And so when guys like Hayden and Serena came along offering their services, it was a completely natural thing for me to welcome their contributions with open arms. In this business, people don’t endorse you if they don’t believe in you because it is ultimately their name on the final product as well.”

Because it seems to be human nature to want to take down those who are fortunate enough to receive a little help along the way, Sam says it was difficult to avoid some of the scrutiny that came with the big names he associated with on his debut.

“I definitely felt scrutinized more than I would have been had I made that record by myself. I knew it was going to happen: people saying I’m not working hard enough to warrant having these guests on my record. What many of those naysayers fail to realize is that, because I grew up the way that I did being surrounded by music, I understood the work that needs to go into making a record and a band successful.”

Sam says that while escaping his father’s shadow is something that he has had to deal with on one level, his Cameron House Records label-mate Devin Cuddy (son of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy) seemingly had an even bigger shadow to escape.

“People tend to be more critical of guys like Devin and me because they can be. Both of us knew getting into the business how much work it was going to be. I probably have it best of the two of us though. More people probably know my father as a politician now as opposed to a musician.”

Having somewhat exorcised the folk music demons with his debut, Sam says that it is no coincidence that Stand Together, Fall Together boasts more of a rock and roll edge. While Sam admits that he is still working to find his own distinct voice, he feels as though he is on the right track.

“With this new record, I really wanted to strip away a lot of the extras and just focus on making a lean rock and roll record.”

What: Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, special guests to July Talk
When: Friday Dec. 13, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton