Samantha Roark was running out of time. Only seventeen years old, she was hooked on speed, frighteningly underweight and desperate. She gathered her strength and went to the cemetery where her beloved grandmother had recently been buried. Crouched there beside the headstone, she prayed. Please God, I need some help.
Four hours later Sam was arrested.
That was two years ago. In September, 2010, she wowed festival audiences in Clay County, Kentucky with the launching of her debut CD, Check Out Girl, produced by country music veteran artist/producer Joe Sun. The work has been praised by insiders including Cowboy Jack Clement (Charley Pride, Johnny Cash), who pointed to the innate “calming” quality of her vocal style, and WKLB’s legendary Cornbread Barker, who said: “I’ve been in this business 30 years, and this is as good as it gets.”
“That arrest was the miracle I’d prayed for,” Sam reflects. “I went into a program called Drug Court, got clean, and healthy. Thanks to the court’s program, I am alive today. I don’t think I would have lasted another month on the path I’d been on. As it was, I got a second chance, and an opportunity to get back to the music I love.”
She displayed the same heart and determination in recording her debut CD with Sun. Using top Nashville pickers and recording songs by hit-making writers including Gail Davies, Ron Davies, Rich Fagen, Shawn Kamp and John Scott Sherrill, Sun and Roark have constructed an album blending contemporary radio ready American music with deep traditional roots. The tracks are clean, crisp and open, leaving space for Sam’s compelling voice to showcase a remarkable song repertoire. This is a collection of keepers. Says Sam: “We didn’t want something that just had a couple of memorable songs, with the rest forgettable. We looked for the best, and I think we got them.”
Producer Joe Sun agrees. “We went to the best writers, and got their best songs – the gems – the songs that had been out there demanding to be sung. That goes for Sam’s performance, too. It is a talent that demands to be heard, and Check Out Girl is a CD that is different from anything you’re going to hear in today’s market. Once you listen you are never going to forget Sam Roark.
Taken from Patsi Bale Cox Sam Roark biography.