A.M. + P.M. - Episode 01 - Sam Lewis
We've launched a new video series that takes a quick look into the daily lives and routines of working musicians from all walks of life. A.M. + P.M. showcases the days and nights of what building a career in music looks like. We kick off the series with our friend Sam Lewis who is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Check out the video above.
We caught up with Sam in between tours at his East Nashville home and talked shop on the day he quit his job for music, travel tips and what's next.
Q + A
Interview conducted on January 6, 2016 by Jacob Jones
You have your own coffee brand. Give me the story on that.
My friend Kevin Ducket owns Smokey Mountain Roasters in Waynesville, North Carolina. He’s been roasting coffee for about 15 years and I’ve played his shop in the past. He puts on a yearly festival called “Plot Fest” and all the proceeds go to an organization called Head Start. After getting educated on the Head Start mission, I really wanted to help bring awareness to the cause. So, he and I bagged his coffee and we do a pre-order once a year which always sells out. It’s roasted, packaged and shipped all in the same day in his shop. I still play his shop every year because I love him and all the money goes to Head Start. So on that day we do all the roasting and shipping, then I play a show.
You have a lot of killer merch. What sells the most?
I had these pocket mirrors that went really fast. You know, ladies' cosmetic pocket mirrors. I think I had about 100 of them and they flew off the merch table.
Do you think most people thought they were drug doing kits?
Well, I had some confused people…I had to explain to them what drugs were. No, in all seriousness, my graphic designer is a woman and she came up with the idea. They were just cool little mirrors with my logo on them. I’m exploring my items like that for tours this year.
Do you have a favorite town to play in?
No, not a favorite, but there is this cool little festival in Crawford, Tennessee called Jammin’ At Hippie Jacks. It’s got a very reunion type of vibe. It’s like a weird miniature summer camp. It’s run by a great guy, Hippie Jack, and his wife, Mississippi. That's probably one of my favorite places to play... it always feels like I’m going home when I play there.
What do you listen to when you’re driving on the road?
I get burned out quick, man. I actually make tons of phone calls. I catch up with people on the road more than I do when I’m home. I love getting a random call so it doesn’t matter if I’m in Omaha at 10am, I might just call you out of nowhere.
Do you have any travel tips?
First off, get two of everything. I keep a shoulder bag always packed and I keep another set of toiletry items at home. That way I’m not always packing. I use coconut oil for everything on the road. It’s great for lotion and for your teeth. My dentist said “you don’t smoke or drink coffee or anything do ya?”. I do both those things. I even make my own deodorant using coconut oil. When you’re traveling, sometimes you just don’t have to room for ALL the stuff. You learn to pack light. Also, I avoid truck stops and pack food as if I’m going camping.
Tour planning advice?
Stay organized. Go back to the places where you were a hit sooner than later. Don’t commit yourself to one thing or one course, keep some options open. This is going to be the busiest January of my music career so far. I’m playing the Ryman, performing on the Cayamo Cruise and on the road a bit. I’ll continue to plan for this year the entire time.