Sam Kogon describes his new approach as that of an “Upstate country rockabilly crooner,” a sound he had once put off while playing in Brooklyn’s psychedelic scene. Kogon lived and played in New York for several years, but nowadays lives in Westchester and spends more time in the Hudson Valley. He has always skewed a little older in his sensibilities, from an early affinity for Chopin and the Beatles to the session work he’s done with Al Jardine of The Beach Boys, fronting the 1960’s revived baroque pop group The Left Banke (“Walk Away Renee”), and songwriting with Grammy Award nominee Patty Smyth. He has recorded two albums of psych-adjacent power pop, including 2016’s standout Psychic Tears (Beyond Beyond is Beyond), which was co-produced by Kogon and Sam Owens (aka Sam Evian) and features a duet with Frankie Cosmos on the track “I Was Always Talking.” He just released a new EP he recorded with Kurt Vile and Dinosaur Jr. producer, John Agnello. Kogon wrote and made demo recordings of these four news songs at home on to his 4-track tape recorder. The songs were then arranged with his band feat. Grennan Milliken on drums, James Preston on Bass, Graeme Gengras on keys, and Kogon on vocals and guitar. The EP was recorded and produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) at Stewart Lerman’s Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, NJ. His partnership with Agnello came about in a somewhat roundabout way. After coming off three self-booked US/Canadian tours, Kogon was cast as a featured extra in Martin Scorsese’s crime epic The Irishman as a backing musician for Jerry Vale, played in the film by Steven Van Zandt. He hit it off with music supervisor Stewart Lerman and, after sending some demos along, received a recommendation for working with Agnello. The sessions were assisted by Jeremy Delaney and James Frazee. The songs were mastered by Steve Fallone (Arcade Fire, Angel Olsen, Big Thief).
Little Steven aka Steven Van Zandt (from the E Street Band) has named Sam’s first single, “Barbed Wire,” as one of The Coolest Songs in The World and featured it on his Sirius XM show “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.”