A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit AJ Leffler
Sam Valentine has been writing music since he was in middle school. Now a senior at Salem High School, he’s got a full length LP, “If You Want Me,” under his belt and an upcoming CD release party at the high school to show for it.
The CD release event, set for Saturday, Nov. 10, is more than just a way to share and promote his hard work and life’s passion. It’s also a way for Sam to give back to the Salem community.
Tickets for the show are $8 and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to AJ Leffler and his family to alleviate costs of cancer treatments for the Andrew Lewis Middle School seventh-grader.
“If I’m gonna make some money, I figured I’d give it to someone who needs it,” Valentine said. Valentine hasn’t met AJ yet, but he’s hoping to have the chance at the event next Saturday–the Lefflers told him they’d try to be at the concert.
“If You Want Me” features 10 of Valentine’s original songs, some of which came from his music writing days in middle school. “I wrote ‘Rollercoaster Woman’ when I was in seventh grade,” he said.
The bluesy sound and vocal stylings of Valentine’s music were inspired by greats like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Michael Buble and John Mayer, “whether consciously or subconsciously,” Sam says.
Sam will perform the songs on his album, as well as a few covers, with his band Sam Valentine and Split Decision. Sam’s vocals and guitar will be joined on Nov. 10 by bassist Josh Whitlow, vice principal at Hidden Valley High School; lead guitarist Jordy Hensley, a SHS graduate, and drummer Zach Strother. Piano and backup vocals will be provided by Kyle Studtmann, and saxophone is courtesy of Jonathan Milberger .
“I love playing with this group of guys,” Sam said. But the future of Sam Valentine and Split Decision will be up in the air next year as members of the band all head off to different places for college.
For Sam, his top choice is James Madison University, where he hopes to major in musical theatre.
Valentine recorded the album at Flat Five Press & Recording in downtown Salem with help from Tom Ohmsen. Strother and Milberger also lent their talents to the album versions of songs, but instead were joined by bassist Justin Maio. Valentine started the process in May 2012, and had a lot of help and support from his parents.
“I cut grass and worked construction in the summer to pay for what I could,” he says, but his dad helped him pay for the rest. “I’m just really appreciative of my parents,” he says.
The CD release party is set for Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Salem High School auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the music begins at 7:30 p.m. You can find Sam at samvalentinemusic.com or on Facebook. His album is available online through iTunes or CDBaby.