Sammie Francis

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Sammie Francis was born, raised, and educated in Maine. Now, at twenty-nine, she still calls it home. A high school English teacher by day and troubadour by night, Sammie writes acoustic music that blends folk, pop and jazz. Sammie’s latest album, The Kite and the Shore, was released in September 2013.

At the age of four, Sammie began studying piano, in the footsteps of her older sister, and as a means of honoring her maternal memérè. At the age of seven, Sammie’s mom discovered that she was playing entirely by ear and memory; thus, the great re-learning of the instrument began. It was a frustrating process, but paid off in the end. To this day, Sammie attributes her ability to quickly learn popular music to this early skill.

As a freshman in high school, Sammie decided it was high time to pull out her dad’s never-ending collection of Bob Dylan songbooks and teach herself how to play the guitar (his Guild, which she now very gratefully owns). By her junior year in high school, she was dared to enter (what was then typically considered) an all-male competition for rock bands across the state, which she later competed in and won. She was the first female and first solo artist to do so, earning herself the title of “Best Young Artist in the State of Maine” at seventeen. A few months later, she recorded her first EP, Just Me, with producer/engineer Jim Parr of Martha’s Vineyard.

In the fall of 2005, Sammie went to Bowdoin College, where she studied literature and teaching. She also sang soprano in the Chamber Choir, joined a co-ed a capella group and formed a band, Eleven (an ode, of course, to Spinal Tap). Throughout this time, Sammie kept writing original music. A cluster of these songs culminated in her first full-length album, which was recorded in the Bowdoin College Chapel with friend and musician Peter Arbour. The album was self-released in 2010 and aptly titled The Bowdoin Years.

After graduating, Sammie returned to Scotland, where she had previously studied abroad, this time in pursuit of her Master’s Degree in Scottish Literature. While there, she met many memorable Scottish musicians and continued to write and play at local pubs. In the fall of 2010, Sammie returned to Portland, Maine, where she became a certified public school teacher and a steady fixture in the local music scene.

The Kite and the Shore was recorded in February 2013 in Sammie’s East End apartment. Her husband Max Taylor was integral in all aspects of the project, from recording and mixing to designing the art and layout of both the CD and website. Max is also an excellent musician, often playing the upright bass or guitar at Sammie’s side. Both original members of the band Eleven, Max and Sammie have been making music together for seven years. The Kite and the Shore was mastered by Pete Morse at Red Vault Recording and replicated by Crooked Cove.