When Samuel Smith was diagnosed with Parkinson’s aged 44, he descended into a life lived on the edge, waiting for the moment to come when his body wasn’t able to perform daily tasks. Just a few weeks after the news was delivered, the musician was attempting to play his beloved guitar, but he was unable to play a note – paralysed.

Listen to In The Springtime here.

What had come so easily to him previously – Samuel describes playing guitar as “breathing” – was now an impossible task. No longer could he tap his foot in time to the music, perform basic daily tasks or get consistent sleep; instead he began to deal with increasing stiffness and pain in his shoulder, all part of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and he sought out medication to alleviate some of the pain.

Fast forward to a few months, and five pills a day, later and he was able to play again. The euphoria permeated his body and soul and what followed was an outpouring of creativity. He wrote long into the night, scared that each day might be the last he was able to play, and learned to unlock new playing styles to suit his new physical limitations.

Before long, family and friends convinced him to record and release an album filled with these recent compositions. For Samuel, the stakes felt so high; would this be the last thing he ever created? He knew he needed a safety net in place to help him through if his symptoms flared up and he was unable to perform.

Enter Charlie, Samuel’s cousin and fellow musician, who spent time learning every guitar part just in case. What followed was an outpouring of support from the musical community, including several GRAMMY-winning bluegrass and acoustic musicians who frequent Samuel’s musical heartland of Nashville. Some of the world’s best session musicians pledged their support and, with 27 GRAMMYs between them, Samuel was overwhelmed.

Guitarist and banjo player Ron Block (Alison Krauss), pianist Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett), fiddle legend Stuart Duncan and mandolin sensation Sierra Hull all said yes. Rollings later told Samuel of a longstanding joke among session players in Nashville that a connection comes with just one in 40 records. For him, Samuel’s record was the one. Brandon Bell (Brandi Carlise, Alison Krauss) stepped in to help record and mix the record.

The final piece of the puzzle was a studio space. Sam Lakeman’s name kept coming up, an engineer and musician who works and tours with his wife, Irish folk singer Cara Dillon. Their involvement would come to define the creation of the album, and their Somerset home quickly became its heartbeat. Samuel’s songs developed beautifully with the group’s collective musical energy at the core of the album, ‘In The Springtime’.

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