I can remember being around fourteen years old—spending the afternoon at my friend Tim’s house. He popped in a DVD of the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival while we hung out on the basement couch.
In the video, John Mayer takes the stage to give the performance of a lifetime. I knew Mayer from his hit songs on pop radio, but I didn’t know the man behind the guitar before my eyes. He played in a way that made it impossible to avert one’s eyes. It was then that I discovered an echelon of musicians that were able to combine their impressive prowess with accessible, fun songwriting. They don’t emerge often enough, but when you find one, you hold on. Enter Sam Seccombe: An English artist with great vocal control who understands how to implement the fretboard as much as he understands how to craft a hit.
His newest single is “Toxic History.” The song is about brushing the debris of a disastrous relationship off after it comes crumbling down into a mishmash of dust and rubble—but instead of staying down, Seccombe rises from the ashes. He’s turned his troubles into something completely enthralling. The track’s power comes from its perspective. Rather than dwelling on the past, it looks toward the future. “Toxic History” has all the good vibes of a Ben Harper or Donavon Frankenreiter song combined with extra soul and some serious guitar chops. Its excellence is elevated by a tight solo with lots of feel.
“Toxic History” is the final single to be released from Seccombe’s upcoming EP, “To Be Quite Frank,” which is due in the coming months. The piece in its entirety explores the complicated, long-distance relationship he opens up about in his latest release. Seccombe has found success with the EP’s other crisp, catchy tracks, but don’t let their polished production fool you—the singer/songwriter makes brilliant music right from his bedroom in South Western London. This approach gives his work an added realness and authenticity. It sounds personal and genuine.
Seccombe’s new one is dressed out with beautiful vocals serving up background harmonies, a guitar tone that couldn’t pair any better with the accompanying electric piano, some classy horns, and a message that speaks clearly to his audience. The track screams of summertime and releases at the most perfect time. It implores you to, not get held up in the past, but hold your head high and come out 1,000,000x better on the other side.
Written by Matt Kalicky