Samantha Whates

Waiting Rooms

Image of Samantha Whates - Waiting Rooms
Record Label
Wonderful Sound

About this item

Waiting Rooms is the sophomore album from Samantha Whates. A follow-up to 2011`s self-released, Dark Nights Make For Brighter Days. Produced in parallel to Whates` partnership with Josienne Clarke as PicaPica - who are signed to Rough Trade. Waiting Rooms finds the singer / songwriter working with Wonderfulsound. Extending a relationship that began with her contributions to the London imprint`s Monks Road Social project.

Most songs are conceived while we are in transit. At the beginning, or end, of a journey to somewhere, with someone. Anticipating, dreading, dreaming of, hoping, waiting for change. Whates` ambitious aim was to record in the surroundings where such thoughts take root. Live, on location, no overdubs. Traveling to the waiting rooms of a Victorian ferry terminal, Great Ormond`s Street Hospital, disused prison cells - haunted by the buzz of their former occupants - and train stations - both operational, or Grade 2-listed and closed to the public. The sessions involving a collective of seventeen friends - on acoustic and electric guitar, cello, clarinet, double bass, harmonica, lute, percussion, piano - prepared or otherwise - shruti, and viola. With recordings confined, due to spacial and locational logistics, to arrangements of between two and five players. It wasn’t possible to get a piano on that boat to the Isle Of Bute, or down into Loughton Tube after midnight.

Whates` songs on Waiting Rooms concern themselves with folk. Everyday stories, here performed in everyday places. Old Coat is a winter of romance-gone-wrong remembered. The protagonist of Sometimes Something seems overwhelmed by the aches of love, and life. Dark Waters finds them trying to come to terms with self, and self-loathing, and the salvation that can come from the heart of another. Sailors is a metaphor for all those in fragile but determined vessels afloat on the seas of chance. Guilty is bruised by spiteful slights. The Rehearsal, a blues harp skiffle shuffle dedicated to mistakes, apologies, and the need to start over. Daylight Savings, appropriately autumnal. I Love My Life both opens and closes the album. The first take, a defiant statement. The second, a slow, sad but hopeful waltz. Whates` voice is magical throughout. Flights of angelic improvisation, with a touch of Joni (Mitchell) in the high notes. Committing to tape unique recordings, that more than anything set down in a studio, capture a moment in time. Pieces full of memories. Not just those penned in the lyrics, but also of the space, the architecture, the high-ceilinged reverb, the strip-lighting hum. The performance. Passing trains. The journey there and back.


1. Love My Life (fast)
2. Cinema Song
3. Old Coat
4. Sometimes Somethings
5. Dark Waters
6. Sailors
7. Daylight Savings
8. Dylan's Truth
9. Guilty
10. The Rehearsal
11. Love My Life (slow)

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