Birmingham Bluesman Finds a Friend with Music Maker
inArtist Storyon March 9, 2016
Sam Frazier, Jr.’s album Take Me Back is finally in print after 20+ years hiding in the storage of a Birmingham music enthusiast. The album and its release herald a new period in Sam’s life. Two years ago when Sam’s daughter-in-law reached out to Music Maker, it had been some years since Sam’s musical heyday. He was living back home in Edgewater, Alabama in the coalmining shack he grew up in, with the walls falling in around him. He had lost many of his old connections and wasn’t sure which way to turn to get his music back on track. His housing problem weighed on him heavily and he was also dealing with health issues that put his music goals on the back-burner.
After getting acquainted with Sam, Music Maker started calling on resources to help him get things back on track. With the help of longtime Music Maker supporter and Birmingham blues community organizer, Roger Stephenson, we were able to put a band of professional musicians together to perform behind Sam. Since then, Roger has been tirelessly working to book Sam work locally in Birmingham. Music Maker recorded Sam here in our Hillsborough studio with a cadre of great musicians including Dom Flemons, John Dee Holeman and Ironing Board Sam. Our longtime musical director, Ardie Dean, pulled together Sam’s lost recordings; those tracks make up his current release.
Music Maker is striving to get Sam work – so far we’ve booked him at prestigious venues such as Duke Performances and King Biscuit Blues Festival. We know when artists face housing insecurity it is hard to focus on building a career, so we also helped Sam get into a safe senior apartment. Our Musician Sustenance Program was also able to keep Sam’s car on the road, help him purchase needed diabetic shoes and performance clothing. This work has enabled Sam to redirect his focus to creating music and has afforded him opportunities to gain a sustainable income through performance.
As you will hear in Sam’s recordings, he is a noteworthy singer, songwriter and performer. Through your support, this incredibly talented musician has the stability to return his focus to his great gift to the world.