Sunset Sam

Sunset Sam


In the tradition of artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Don McLean, and Brewer & Shipley, Sunset Sam writes and performs lyric-driven acoustic folk-rock. Her honest lyrics and experimentation with subject matter make for a dynamic, emotional repertoire that any audience can connect with.


Sunset Sam is the stage name used by singer/songwriter Theresa Houghton. A native of Sand Lake, NY, Theresa began seriously pursuing guitar in the summer of 2001, mostly in order to play songs by bands she enjoyed. Though she had been writing poetry and song lyrics on and off for years, she didn’t plan on doing much, if any, songwriting.

That same summer, Theresa attended her second session of the New York State Summer Young Writer’s Institute (NYSSYWI) in Lake George, NY, and was both impressed and inspired by the music of a budding singer/songwriter/guitarist she met there. Theresa had only written one song at the time, but after her week at NYSSYWI, she began to work on more original material.

With influences ranging from multi-genre master Michael Nesmith to geek rockers They Might Be Giants, Theresa forged a simple, folk/rock/pop style that works to showcase her lyrics.

In February of 2003, Theresa attended her first open mike night at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY and visited this open mike on and off for about a year as time permitted. In summer of 2003, she began attending the monthly open mike at Borders Books & Music in Albany, NY, which she continues to attend as often as possible. She is also a regular at the open mike at Slow Jed’s Mud House in Averill Park, NY.

March of 2005 found Theresa at Perfect Blend in Delmar, NY, playing her first gig. Armed only with a blue acoustic guitar, her voice, and a music stand, she played her way through an hour and a half set in front of an audience consisting mostly of family and friends. Playing this show convinced Theresa that she could, and would, continue pursuing music in this way.

Theresa spent many of her weekends during the summer of 2005 working on tracks for her debut album, IT MUST BE THURSDAY, which was officially released in December, 2005 at her first show at Slow Jed’s Mud House. The album is currently available on her website.

Says Times Union columnist, Greg Haymes, of IT MUST BE THURSDAY: " works well to showcase a burgeoning talent on the local music scene."

Since then, Theresa has continued to perform locally in NY, visiting such places as Professor Java’s in Albany, Flavour Café in Troy, Moon & River Café and Night Sky Café in Schenectady, Perfect Blend in Delmar, the Muddy Cup in Albany, Coffee Planet in Ballston Spa, and Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. She has shared the stage with local duos Almost Awake and the Bookdrop Bees, and participated in the first Capital Region Acoustic Minibash (hosted by Steve Grogan). She is also a regular performer at Slow Jed’s Mud House and has appeared on the local music spot in Jim Barrett’s radio show, Kaleidoscope, on 104.9 The EDGE.

In summer of 2007, Theresa released her second album, GLASS HOUSE. She calls this album "an album about relationships" and has this to say about the songs:

"In a lot of ways, music is like writing. It's very easy to lay yourself bare, to communicate in lyrics and music things you would never say with words. Things that everyone feels but no one admits. Sadness, depression, hope, joy,

[GLASS HOUSE] is a window in and a way out, a glass house and a method of personal catharsis. A way to remember and a way to forget; a way to convey that the snow still falls but, perhaps, the loss is no longer quite so potent."

Theresa is also an avid knitter, reader, and writer, and has self-published a sci-fi novel called WE CHANGE, which is available on her website and In the future, she would like to share the stage with more of the wonderful musicians she’s met over the course of her musical journey.


It Must Be Thursday, 2005
Glass House, 2007

Set List

Set lists usually consist of two 45-minute sets, largely made up of original material. I try to have at least a 2:1 ratio of originals to covers.

Covers of songs by Michael Nesmith, They Might Be Giants, and a few bands from the '60s and '70s often find a place on the list.

Commonly-played covers:
-- Different Drum
-- Two Different Roads
-- The Other Room
-- Rio
-- Propinquity (I've Just Begun to Care)
-- Nine Times Blue
-- Marie's Theme
-- Rainmaker
-- Hollywood

Savage Garden
-- The Lover After Me

Three Dog Night
-- Shambala

Green Day
-- Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

They Might Be Giants
-- Pet Name
-- Piece of Dirt

Grateful Dead
-- Ripple

Don McLean
-- American Pie
-- Empty Chairs

-- Looking Out My Back Door
-- Have You Ever Seen the Rain
-- Bad Moon Rising

Glen Hansard
-- Falling Slowly
-- Leave