Sam Cash might be a Toronto-born, Toronto-based singer-song writer, but he has a great affinity for the East Coast. Not only does he praise East Coast crowds but he lists guys like Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays and Adam Baldwin among his principal influences.
“I feel the closest connection to people out there,” Cash said. “Out there we find that people are generally very embracing of music and new stuff in general.
“I love Toronto, I was born and raised in Toronto but … at shows you get people that are trying very hard to be cool,” Cash explained. “… They’re digging it, it’s not that they don’t dig it, it’s just that the culture here is a bit more… I’m not sure what it is, reserved maybe in that hipster style.”
Still, it was the songwriting of Plaskett and Mays that began what he calls his “East Coast discovery period.”
In them, as well as Baldwin, Cash sees something akin to the song-writer-led rock and roll of the ’76 to ’78 era.
Cash has said his latest album Tongue-In-Cheek Vows — his third overall and the second with The Romantic Dogs — was meant to be a “statement”, one for which he collected
what he felt to be his best material, including songs that pre-date his last album Stand Together, Fall Together. That statement, he explains, was shaped in part by East Coast artists.
“I don’t see many rock and roll bands anymore,” Cash said. “There’s a lot of rock bands out there, but I don’t know if there’s many rock and roll bands and a lot of that about the spirit and the heart of it, it’s not necessarily the sound. That’s partially why I love that early Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays stuff because those are rock and roll records. Those are records they’re making with their whole selves in them.
“To do that it took a lot of time and energy because I don’t think it goes that way anymore,” Cash explained. “I just wanted to make a statement that real songwriting and real music is still here. There are still people fighting the good fight.”
Cash also has influences closer to home, and from an era he actually lived in. Exposure from an early age to Horseshoe Tavern regulars like the Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo and his father Andrew Cash shaped him in many ways, including as a songwriter.
“Those guys definitely sort of influenced my songwriting, too. I mean that was my life… It’s because it’s your parents’ job. My mother is in the music business as well, she’s a manager and she was a manager back then, too. This industry is my life for better or for worse. Luckily I want to do it, I feel like even if I didn’t want to do it, it would be hard to avoid it.”
Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs will be performing Saturday night.