Sam Marshall is a dynamic and ever-evolving guitarist and vocalist who seeks to distill new forms of music from the traditions of blues, jazz, rock, soul, and funk. Starting his career as a solo-acoustic blues musician, Sam quickly found himself formulating a style that was part blues tradition and part improvisational and compositional exploration. As the son of an avid blues lover, and a lover of all improvisational music himself, this seemed to be a natural combination for Sam.
Apparently others have agreed. Americana UK remarks, “There are moments on Sam Marshall's The Absolution Of Sunny Boy Sam when you can feel the sun on your back and the dirt between your feet... With Sam Marshall there is no dilution of his country/blues roots, he plays it acoustic and he entwines it around your heart, it's that simple.” Of a live performance, a writer for Bellingham’s Speaker Tweaker said, “Marshall is a gifted blues guitarist whose style reflects a firm foundation in the Blues, while moving with a Jazzy, almost-improvisational progression. His gravelly, weathered-sounding voice masks his young age, but it flows from slow to quick with varied rhythms that make you want to stomp your feet.” In his years since beginning as a solo musician, he has toured throughout the Northwest and has shared bills with notable artists and influences such as Robben Ford, Tony Furtado, Mark DuFresne (Roomful of Blues), Too Slim & The Taildraggers, Curtis Salgado, and Joe McMurrian.
But it is not only in solo composition and improvisation that Sam felt the need to explore. In 2008, Sam began to experiment with a larger sound, and so the Sam Marshall Trio was established. The initial line-up included Sam Marshall on guitar and vocals, Bennett Kling on upright bass, and Collin Andresen on drums. It was with this configuration the group released their debut album Floorwalker. Jazzreview.com remarks, “Although the Sam Marshall Trio's all acoustic approach puts it on another shelf so to speak, comparisons could be made to Muddy Waters' groundbreaking Electric Mud album or Buddy Guy's masterpiece Sweet Tea.” Muse’s Muse said, “(Floorwalker) should appeal to the blues lover as well as those who love the sound of well played guitar.”
But even after all the positive responses to Floorwalker, the Sam Marshall Trio refused to simply sit on their laurels. In fact, they further expanded their sound by seeking out the talents of Randy Rush, a veteran Seattle-area organ player. And it was with this addition that things inevitably got funkier.
For a brief period of time Sam, Collin, and Randy formed a new group that focused on material influenced by the 1960’s soul-jazz era. As a throwback to their rootsy beginnings in the Sam Marshall Trio, they called their new group EnRoot, often engaging the playing of Jacob Stickney on tenor sax. With two successful groups playing simultaneously, the core members (Sam, Collin, and Randy) found themselves enjoying each set of repertoire so much that they began throwing songs from one group into set lists for the other. Judging by the responses they got from audiences, mixing repertoires was a very good decision. And so in 2013, EnRoot evolved back into the Sam Marshall Trio.
Today, the Sam Marshall Trio is a progressive blues, jazz, and boogaloo band. Their sound started in the roots of the blues and has grown to included elements of jazz, soul jazz, funk, and rock.