If you’re an avid reader of The Ark, you might remember a track we raved about – last fall we found Damaged Goods to be a vulnerable, heartfelt exploration of the soul of artist Sam Winston. We were therefore over the moon to get our hands on his most recent release – and it only seems to magnify all of the elements of the previous single that we adored so much. Til I Make Peace With War is another soul-searching, heart-wrenching, absolutely stunning piece of ethereal singer-songwriter goodness.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this track is the haunting piano that permeates it – Winston chose a vintage piano for this song for a very specific purpose. He says of the selection, “I chose this particular raw tone to reflect the gravity of the situation. Its fragile timbre seemed a perfect match for the bittersweet lyrics.” We are inclined to heavily agree – the piano has an innate warmness but also an air of melancholy that so perfectly encapsulates the song’s message.
Like his last release, Til I Make Peace With War comes from a very personal place for Winston. Fighting a chronic health issue that was making it physically painful to sing, he has struggled internally with maintaining a sense of self while his voice was silenced. But his perspective on it all is wholly uplifting – he has chosen peace. He chooses to do all that he can in the war that he is fighting, and leave the rest up to the powers that be – a wonderfully stated metaphor that resonates, right in the title of the track.
Elevating this track from “great” to “phenomenal” is once again Winston’s voice. It’s crystal clear, dripping with emotion, and carries just a touch of smokiness in the lower notes that adds depth and makes it effortless to listen to. We’ve compared him to James Blunt in the past, and we’ll do it again without hesitation here, with maybe a touch of Damien Rice for good measure. And it is the perfect vessel for his poetic lyrics:
“That fickle heart behind stained glass
Such an emblem of my past
Reminds me, reminds me to laugh
Those steady hands, unphased by time
Strong, certain, unlike mine
They find me, off kilter, out of line“
Add in the wonderful build across this track, the gentle inclusion of the horns, and then the stunning vocal harmony that joins in the second chorus, and this resulting composition is maybe best described in one word: sublime.
It is without a doubt that Til I Make Peace With War is one hundred percent deserving of the thousands of streams it’s already racking up. Sam Winston continues to cement himself as an incredibly strong – and quickly rising – songwriting presence in the acoustic/folk-pop space. Evocative, gripping, and heartfelt to the core – Winston is the kind of writer whose work we will always look forward to hearing.
BELOW: Listen to Til I Make Peace With War and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Sam Winston by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!