Originally a native to Iowa City, IA now Charleston, SC based singer-songwriter, Sam Rae (they/them), blends the traditional landscape of storytelling through song with their roots in classical cello and improvisational cello looping. Using cello as a unique portal evoking interlude between their more Americana/Folk driven songs on guitar Rae gives listeners a taste of traditional storytelling juxtaposed with portal evoking psychedelic cello interludes using percussive strumming, reverse eects and achingly familiar melodies, looping cello and vocals. With a degree in cello performance Rae’s roots were laid in a classical past however, Rae’s true talent shines bright in their songwriting and vocal delivery, weaving tasteful lyrics and subtly complex guitar voicings into a story that a diverse audience can hold onto, a otation device amidst the chaos. Rae uses their wide vocal range and Joni Mitchell-esque vocal agility to paint colorful landscapes in their songs that somehow make perfect sense as they introduce improvised cello interludes in between songs.
Alongside their own performances they have doubled as cellist and back up singer for Grammy Award-winning artist Brandi Carlile (2015, 2018-2021) and have toured extensively around the US collaborating with a variety of artists including Brandi Carlile, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Highwomen, Courtney Marie Andrews and more. They have been touring and performing original music since 2011 after receiving their degree in Classical Cello Performance from the University of Iowa. On August 7, 2020 Sam Rae released their third and most poignant album with full band Ten Thousand Years recorded at the Hall of Justice Studios in Seattle, WA following Stories From the Marrow (2014) and Bring us to New Islands (2017). With a premier from Bluegrass Situation and a shout out from American Songwriter, Rae was described by the Charleston Magazine as an entity that ‘...is intentional. Once you accept that Rae is taking you on a journey, you can surrender to the ride.’