Singer-songwriter Sam Corbin Keeps the Musical Fire Burning
Ypsilanti based singer-songwriter Sam Corbin will be the first to tell you he isn’t the most confident musician on the singer-songwriter circuit. The music is certainly in him, and he knows it. The songs just don’t always manifest themselves like they should.
Corbin, along with fellow singer-songwriters Monte Pride and Roger Brown, will perform in Ten Pound Fiddle presents Michigan Songwriters II, March 29 at The Robin Theatre.
“As for songwriting, it’s always been a struggle for me.” Corbin said. “I’m pretty hard on myself and tend to scrap most songs before they get anywhere. Really, it’s mostly the story. I want it to be real and authentic and if it’s not saying anything that makes me feel something I give up on it. Melodies have always come pretty easy for me though. Maybe I should just write instrumentals? I would save myself a lot of self-doubt.”
Corbin, who is originally from the Lansing area, is now based out of Ypsilanti where he spends most of his time as a full-time dad to his year-and-a-half year-old daughter Emaline. In addition to being a father and solo artist, the singer and guitarist is a part of the Lincoln County Process, which includes contemporaries Jen Sygit, Geoff Lewis, Mike Lynch, and Michael Smalley. Corbin occasionally performs alongside Sygit as a duo, and in various other incarnations.
According to Corbin, being invited to be a part of the Earthwork Music Collective in 2009 helped to build his confidence, while shaping him into the artist he is today.
“I had been playing in a duo with Jen Sygit for a number of years at that point, and she had introduced me to all of the Earthwork artists over the years, so even though I joined in 2009, I felt a part of that group for a while already,” Corbin said. “There is some serious talent in Earthwork, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. Jen has always been a big influence for me over the years. I look at her songwriting as an example of how to do it right. In my opinion she can’t write a bad song. Joshua Davis is another one of my favorites, along with May Erlewine. Their songwriting to me is timeless.”
In 2016, Corbin released his latest album, “Let the Fire Burn Strong,” which drew the attention of Ann Arbor’s 101.7 FM DJ John Bommarito, who quickly named ‘Burn’ his favorite album of the year.
The high praise was both shocking and validating, according to Corbin.
“The name of the album comes from a line in the song “Don’t Ever Grow Old” that I wrote for my daughter.” Corbin said. “It’s a song about following your dreams despite the difficulties and struggles that come with growing up. After the album was released, John named it his number one album of 2016 from his annual top-100 list. I was completely shocked and humbled to not only make the list, but be his favorite album that year.”
Sally Potter, the Ten Pound Fiddle’s booking agent, agrees with Bommarito’s assessment of the album.
“Sam's solo recording is one of my favorites,” Potter said. “Tastefully done, and full of rich lyrics and melodies to match.”
The show at the Robin Theatre, will feature all three artists “in the round,” meaning all will be on the stage at the same time taking turns performing. Pride is another mid-Michigan based musician, while Brown is an internationally known artist who has worked with Ringo Starr, Gerry Rafferty, and Link Wray, among others.
Corbin is looking forward to the opportunity to swap songs and stories, while at the same time, helping to fuel his creative fire.
“I always leave these types of shows feeling inspired.” Corbin said.
Tickets for Ten Pound Fiddle presents Michigan Songwriters II are $18 for the general public, $15 for Ten Pound Fiddle Members; and $5 for Students. They are available online or at the box office starting at 6:30 PM on Thursday, March 29.
The Robin Theater is located at 1105 Washington Ave., in Lansing.