Sam Lee

Near the end of "According to Me," the spirited opening track on Raise Your Flag, Sam Lee intones, "Turn it up and sing it like you mean it" — a reasonable demand, given Lee's performance on the disc. Dude puts his money where his mouth is: He's got some incredibly powerful vocal chops, and he belts with considerable conviction on each of the thirteen songs on the record, a followup to his 2011 EP, Better Half. The singer-songwriter says he's got a rock-and-roll complex, and he eschews the sappy coffeehouse ballads you might expect for a much more rocking approach on most of these cuts. Fortunately, he's also got a knack for penning upbeat, catchy tunes, as evidenced by songs like "Livin' It Up," "I'm Not Coming Home" and "Leaving Home."

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