Sam Pacetti PROFILE

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Sam Pacetti

Sam Pacetti is the one who is going to put it all together. A fingerpicking guitar wizard. A deft songwriter, capable of haunting depth and wry humor in the space of one song. A mesmerizing live performer, seamlessly melding head-spinning guitar pyrotechnics and raw emotion into one breathtaking package. Pacetti represents a culmination of the best of the American and British traditions. His 1997 Waterbug debut, Solitary Travel, garnered critical raves. "This guy is very good, indeed," deadpanned the highly respected (and highly critical) UK magazine Folk Roots. And Dirty Linen, the influential US roots publication, opined, "Although the woods are full of young guitar virtuosos, few have developed the style, technique and artistic wisdom of Sam Pacetti." Sam Pacetti grew up in North Florida, hardly known as a hotbed of either the folk tradition or musical innovation. But at age 13, he saw Chet Atkins on TV and thought, "Yeah, that's the way guitar should be played." So Sam bought a couple of finger-picks and grew his nails. "I was terrible," he admits. Fate intervened shortly afterwards in the person of Gamble Rogers, the legendary picker and raconteur from St. Augustine who took the young Pacetti under his wing. After hearing Pacetti play, Rogers asked the high school student if he'd like to get together and pick a little guitar. "Are you serious?" asked Pacetti. "Of course I am," said Rogers. "What other way would I possibly be?" Pacetti and Rogers met and played weekly for the next year. It was a time of astonishing musical and emotional growth for Pacetti. Tragically, Rogers died while trying to rescue a tourist caught in a rip current at Flagler Beach, Florida. Pacetti played at Rogers' memorial service and still counts Rogers as perhaps his most important influence. "He was the most centered, grounded, intelligent individual I've ever met." Tradition and innovation neatly balance in Sam Pacetti's music, the whole infused by a relentless intelligence. Martin Simpson and Merle Travis are touchstones to Pacetti, and while there are strong elements of the Leo Kottke/John Renbourn school of guitar wizardry throughout his work, there is a powerful raw emotionality evident as well - an earthy sensuality more reminiscent of a Greg Brown or a red-dirt blues master than of a musical academic. Word has started to spread about Sam Pacetti. And as with anything truly innovative, it starts at the grassroots. You won't see Pacetti written up in People or Us. You won't hear his music on Top-40 radio. No, word is spreading about Sam Pacetti the way true innovation always does - through the grassroots. Through non-commercial radio and "specialty show" play. From tapes and CDs passed from friend to friend. At folk festivals and listening rooms. And, in the tradition stemming from the days of rent-raising parties in the Mississippi delta - and now carried on by music aficionados unable to find music that interest them within the mainstream - at house concerts, where Pacetti will play in front of five for fifty friends at someone's home.

Sam Pacetti Videos (12)

"Brian’s Rapier"
"The Lion & The Child"
"Saturday’s Revival"
"Merrily Kissed The Quaker’s Wife"
"S Merrily Kissed The Quaker’s Wife"
"Shawnee Town"
"Still Alive"
"The First Ride"

Sam Pacetti Photos (3)

Sam Pacetti Photo
Sam Pacetti Photo
Sam Pacetti Photo