Sam Sliva
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Sam Sliva

Bay City, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Bay City, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Americana Rock


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Perhaps one of the factors that has accounted for the durability of rock is its combination of simplicity with the potential for diversity. Usually it will start out with a fairly straightforward musical premise of energy and directness, but with the basic sound lacking a lot of subtlety, creative musicians over the generations have striven to take rock to lots of different places with musical hybrids including everything from classical to punk influence. There have been scads of groups playing various hyphenated rock styles.

This week we have a fairly straightforward roots rock band who nevertheless manage to include interesting stylistic bits from genres running from reggae to bluegrass in their sound, and come up with an engaging and generally danceable recording. The group is Sam Sliva and the Good, and their new second CD is called ...And the People Say.

Sam Sliva and the Good are based in the musically fertile city of Austin, Texas, though Sliva grew up in Houston. Sliva says he was raised listening to Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, country star George Strait and bluesman John Lee Hooker. A little of all four come out on the new CD, which is marked by good quality writing and arranging. Sliva is a road-warrior musician, touring all over the Gulf Coast and into the Midwest. His bio says that he has racked up over 1000 shows in the past four years. So that direct, live approach is evident throughout the album, with very little done in terms of studio manipulation. The music is pretty much as it would be performed live, though there are some added studio musicians on horns and the like. The music remains straghtforward, despite its interesting mixture of stylistic influences with, for example a reggae beat and a mandolin in the same song. It's dominated by a distinct roots-rock sound and lyrics that are mostly love songs of one sort or another, several of them written from a self-effacing perspective.

The group photo shows four members to the live band, but the CD credits include a lot more than that, including Keith Davis on guitar, Pat Manske on drums, Daniel Rhodes on bass and Michael Ramos on keyboards with the presumed guests including Jason Isbell on guitar, Corby Schaub on mandolin, vocalist Jackson Parten, plus horn players Justin Filor on sax and Keith Fiala on trumpet. They form a tight musical unit, though this is not much of a jam band or group specializing in impressive instrumental soloing. But what they come up with is an agreeable rootsy rock mix with enough extra ingredients that they keep it interesting beyond being stereotypical of the genre.

Leading off is a good track that epitomizes the sound and direction of the record Blind Addiction. The tune blends a reggae beat with a roots-rock sound and soul-influenced horns. It's a kind of roundabout love song. >

The first track to be released as a single from the record is called It Is What It Is, which also is dominated by a straight-ahead roots-rock sound with bits of other influences such a bits of "reggaeisms" and a folky mandolin as part of the sound. >

Surrender is about as close to mainstream rock as the album gets. It's also a song that might cross over to country audiences. It's well-done, but there's not much distinctive about the sound. >

Another song that is not far from the commercial pop world is My Last Goodbye. There's a banjo in there, so it might be considered another candidate for the country scene. Lyrically it's one of the stronger tracks, being a kind of bittersweet breakup song. >

Sliva's blues-rock side comes out on a track called Be Mine, which rather takes a turn toward old-fashioned Southern style rock. >

Though Sliva is the sole composer of the band's original material, the album includes one cover tune, a Ryan Adams song called Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight. The horn section is brought back for this excellent version. >

While most of the album is good-time rock, there is one slow tune that Sliva and company pull off very well. Nothing At All is one of the better compositions on the CD and provides a nice contrast. >

The recording ends with another of its highlights, See You Around (Revised), a song that seems aimed at mainstream pop. But the group achieves an appealing sound without resorting to musical cliches. >

...And the People Say, the new recording by Austin, Texas, based Sam Sliva and the Good is a tasteful album of roots rock that deftly includes some other influences to make for a more interesting mix, with reggae, blues and even a little country influence. The ten songs are likely to appeal to a fairly wide audience. The live-performance nature of the band is apparent on this recording, which imparts a kind of honest sound, avoiding much of the artifice of contemporary pop. The musicianship is competent, though it's not an album for those looking for flashy playing. There are intelligent songs that say some things that have been said many times before in different contexts, but Sliva and company make it sound reasonably fresh lyrically.

Our grade for sound quality is about an A-minus. The sound is fairly clean and unfettered by stupid studio tricks, with everything just about where it should be in the mix. But of course, in these days when badly over-compressed, cranked-up sound is the norm, this CD is no worse than average.

Eclecticism comes in degrees. Some artists choose to mix styles with wild abandon. Sam Sliva and the Good take the approach of creating good-time, intelligent music that plays well live, and adds some stylistic spice. The result is a worthwhile album of rock that should hold up well over time. - George Graham

by: Thomas D. Mooney

Editor’s Note: On the Road is a new feature we’ve thrown together where we talk with touring bands about their adventures on the road–the good, the bad, and the ugly–in a survey style. Typically, we’re looking for the most fresh, vivid memories the band can comprise, trying to stack up tales from within the last three months.

For our opening On the Road, we caught up with rocking singer-songwriter Sam Sliva. Sliva & The Good’s last album, “…And the People Say” was a tight 10-song collection of grooving Texas-taking-on-soul tales of late night encounters and morning hangovers. Sliva & The Good play The Office tomorrow (Thursday, May 17). In a related note, they’ll be playing down in Alpine and Marfa during Viva Big Bend this July 26-29. Like Sam Sliva & The Good on Facebook here and follow him on Twitter here.

Farthest North Played: We just did a show with Bleu Edmondson in Manhattan, Kansas. What a haul.
Farthest South Played: South Padre – Louies Backyard
Farthest East Played: Hattiesburg, Miss.
Farthest West Played: [Laughs] We haven’t ventured too much out west besides Big Spring and Lubbock. But, we have a West Coast tour coming up starting at the end of July that will put us out to Cali.
Venue Most Played: Hmm…tough one. Maybe Hattricks in Lewisville or The Firehouse Saloon in Houston.
Best Venue Experience: The House of Blues in Dallas always treats us right. Also, the Glass Cactus in Grapevine is really nice. They make you feel like a legitimate “rockstar” out there.
Wildest/Most Memorable Show: We got asked to open a show for Stoney LaRue at the Cotillion in Wichita, Kansas the night before the show one time. Our lead guitar player couldn’t make it, but we said fuck it and did it anyway as a three-piece. Halfway through the set, in front of about 1,200 people, our bass player Lucas bust out a backflip with his bass on and the crowd went nuts. Probably the only thing that saved our set that night [laughs].
Favorite Band Played With: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Probably the tightest band I’ve ever heard.

Best Burger: Recently, probably The Biscuit Company in Vicksburg, Miss.
Best BBQ: Armadillo Palace (in Houston)
Best Mexican Food: Can’t beat the Mexican at Guerro’s here in Austin. The Texican Cafe here is one of my favorites too.
Worst/Weirdest Food: I try to stick with what I know, but I had a burger at a place I’m not going to name in Ft. Worth, and for some reason, all I could taste was pecan. Worst burger I’ve ever had.
Worst Motel Experience: We stayed at this dump in Salina, Kansas a few weeks ago and I’m pretty sure our bass player (Dookie) picked up a tick from there. Don’t ask.
Sketchiest Fan Encounter: Hah, one doesn’t stick out in mind. But, I’ve signed many boobs though.
Coolest Gift from a Fan: Ines Stummer (Our number one fan in Germany) gave me a how to speak German book for my birthday. That was pretty sweet.
Best Store You’ve Been To: Went to this really cool store in Hattiesburg that carried a bunch of badass boots and outdoor gear. Can’t remember what it was called. I was broke and not able to buy anything…pissed me off.
Best Day Off Town: Lubbock is always a good time! Every time we had a day off there, we do the karaoke night at the KoKo. What a hoot.
Worst Hangover: Maybe the one I have right now. We played a private event last night here in Austin and there was an open bar. FML.

What music has dominated the van radio? We all generally rock our headphones for the most part, but the Black Keys (older stuff mostly) are usually in rotation pretty heavy.
When you stop at a convenient store, what do you typically buy? Beer, cigs (Dookie and Jeremy), beef jerky, sunflower seeds, and lottery tickets!
What’s the first thing you do when you get to a town you’re playing? We are usually running late so we probably go straight to the venue to load in.
Overall, weirdest thing you’ve seen? I saw a dog with a cat sitting on top of it with a mouse sitting on top of it in the stockyards once. Saw it on TV again later on.
- New Slang

Article by Jennifer Reid

According to Sam Sliva, “Good music to me can be perceived as anything from a Mozart composition to a well arranged rock and roll song, to a rainstorm outside. It’s all in the heart and ear of the listener.” With their new album, …And the People Say, Sam Sliva and the Good have an excellent chance of reaching the hearts and ears of listeners, current and new.

The single “It Is What It Is” launched at #51 on the AC chart, and the band has garnered consistent radio play in several markets. All the while, Sam Sliva and the Good continue to tour the Midwest circuit, logging more than 1000 shows and recruiting devoted fans along the way. Sliva affirms that his music is the key, and that the band is just getting started. “We have a lot more left to give and hopefully people are starting to take notice,” he said.

Sliva’s affection for music began in early childhood. Born to parents with music appreciation in their DNA, Sliva’s genetics took over. “When I was growing up, my parents were always listening to music. They would have company over, and I can remember lying in bed falling asleep to the sounds of Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, SRV, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Traveling Wilburys, etc. I’ve loved music ever since,” he said. Sliva’s father was a member of a local band called Borderline. Whenever they practiced in the family’s garage, Sam would grab a snare or guitar and try to play along. “It made me feel like I was in the band,” he said.

Now a musician himself, Sliva’s love of music fuels his own. As a songwriter and performer, he firmly believes that keeping an open ear and an open mind are key. “If you only listen to one type of music, your writing will be very bland,” he said. Although he is a self-proclaimed “rocker,” Sliva connects passionately with all genres, and uses those influences to fuel his own creativity. “The music I am into at the time is heavily reflected in the song or songs I come up with at that time, which is why our music is all over the place.” …And The People Say reflects that very idea. From love to loss, good to bad, folk to soul, the album gives the listener a little bit of something that taps into what he or she needs at a given moment. While the mood may determine the listening order, there is no denying that the sheer art of the product will earn the entire album a permanent spot on one’s playlist.

Visit the bands website at and download 2 tracks from …And the People Say for free. Information and additional music can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Itunes. - Stage Shottz Magazine



Sam Sliva tries to stay a safe distance from the Texas country comparisons he and his band The Good receives.

“People say Texas country, they think Pat Green, Corey Morrow, Robert Earl Keen,” says Sliva. “I know we’re definitely not anywhere near those guys; I call our kind of music alternative Americana.”

Sliva isn’t waging a full on war against the genre, he just doesn’t think that’s the kind of music they make.

“I know our first record (“See You Around”) had a little bit of countryness in it, but you can hear towards the end of the album that it’s going a totally different way,” states Sliva. “This new record is going to be totally different than the other record.

Strangely, this isn’t even the strangest comparison for the roots rocker, who was compared to Steve Earle and The Killers on that first album.

“I think there was one song that was kind of Killers-ish, but not really at all,” says Sliva.

On the other hand, Earle is one he doesn’t mind being compared to, since he’s been a diehard fan of the original hardcore troubadour since a youth, covering a number his songs over the years.

“The Earle cover I did, I had an acoustic album of his with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark (the legendary “Together at the Bluebird Cafe”) where he did a different version (of “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied).” says Sliva. “I really liked that version and started doing that version as part of my acoustic show.”

With his rough, beer-soaked baritone, it’s easy to hear those Earle comparisons.

Sliva has a love/hate relationship with writing songs, however.

“I like writing, but yeah, it kind of feels like homework sometimes,” jokes Sliva. “I’m not really one of those who write a couple songs a day; I believe that’s wasting lyrics.”

Sliva is a more conservative writer, picking and choosing the songs he writes.

“A lot of times, I’ll be in the shower or lying around, a melody will come to my head, I have my Iphone, and I’ll record the melody right there,” says Sliva. “Sometimes I’ll let it sit there for months; then I’ll (either) scrap it or continue working on it.”

Although Sliva is only working on the second album in his young early career, the 26-year-old has been playing since his late teens, starting out in the San Marcos area while he was attending Texas State University.

Travis Harms, The Good’s drummer, first heard some barren, rough material of Sliva’s online in 2004.

“I had some very, very, rough acoustic stuff I had recorded in my bedroom,” says Sliva. “I had it on Myspace or something and somehow he liked it.”

After meeting, they started playing acoustic shows at local bars and started getting a steady following.

“That’s when we were like, shoot, let’s get two other members,” says Sliva.

Those days of rough bedroom tracks are long gone for Sliva and The Good, who have since expanded to being a five-piece powerhouse.

“I didn’t even know what I was doing,” admits Sliva. “I had this four-track record and all I had was this little snare drum, a guitar and a harmonica; it was probably a train wreck.”

The band has already recorded a couple of new tracks for their sophomore album and will continue recording in September.

“Jason Isbell, of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, he’s actually doing all the guitar work on the album,” says Sliva, who is excited about working with one of his major influences.

“I’ve not heard many songs of his that I haven’t liked,” says Sliva. “I got to play with him a while back in Dallas.”

Regardless of genre — it is what is — you can bank on Sliva and The Good bringing down the house with their crowd-pleasing brand of bar anthems.
- Lubbock - Avalanche Journal


"See You Around" - LP - 2008
"...And the People Say" - LP - 2012



Emerging from the musical Mecca that is Austin, Texas, Sam Sliva and The Good are fast becoming an outfit to be reckoned with. Their sophomore effort And the People Say finds Sam and the gang striding a new plane of refinement and tightening of their sound. Slivas writing is becoming at once more expansive and focused as a vision. Elements ranging from reggae to folk are brought together and funneled through Slivas alternative Americana apparatus to produce a range of handsomely crafted songs that stretch boundaries yet sound at home with one another. Apart from the well-executed cover of Ryan Adamss Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight, it has become more difficult to muster a list of artists that this new batch of songs share a kinship with. Already garnering thousands of fans through radio play, live shows, and social media outreach, And the People Say is sure to expand that fan base and distinguish Sam Sliva & The Good as a unique and promising source of rock from the Lone Star State

Band Members