Kashena Sampson, a new singer-songwriter from Nashville, made her London debut with an inspiring performance at Hackney’s Paper Dress Vintage.
Despite the cold winter night, Americana lovers found their way to one of the city’s more unusual venues. Located above (and part of) a clothing shop, Paper Dress Vintage is one of those places you wouldn’t expect live music to be played. Yet it is, and the fully packed club proves there are times when first impressions couldn’t be more wrong.
On the night of the Americana Music Association UK (AMA-UK) Conference Music Showcase, the venue becomes a home for various acts from across the pond. One of them truly stands out from the others and that’s Kashena Sampson. A new rising star of the Americana scene, she cast a magic spell that evening.
Kashena’s music combines ’70s folk-rock with a touch of classic country, but serves it all up in a new, unique way. Her music sounds both fresh and somehow familiar, touching hearts and souls, and making the audience swing gently to her rhythm.
There’s a good reason why she doesn’t need many musicians on stage. Just her voice and guitar, supported by multi-instrumentalist C.J. Hillman (winner of the 2017 AMA-UK Instrumentalist of the Year award), fill the room more than many five-piece bands ever could. Her unbelievable vocal range leaves almost no room for any other instruments. No surprise she was hailed as a new Stevie Nicks by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Apart from that incredible voice, Kashena Sampson has one more superpower she might not even be aware of. She’s a first-class storyteller. An old style bard, with the ability to attract crowds yearning to listen to her stories. Her show’s an autobiography converted into songs, with highlights including her debut UK single It’s A Long Way Back, Never Gave Up, and Come Back To Me.
That cold winter night a sun, straight out of a typical scene of American fields and roads, shines in the tiny Hackney club, as she puts an instant charm on the audience.
Kashena Sampson live @ Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st January 2018
Words and Photography by Edyta K