Minneapolis songwriter Sam Cassidy’s second LP, Running Blind is a concept record, telling the tale of a robbery gone wrong. Told from multiple characters points of view, the songs on Running Blind focus both on one moment in time, and also take a wider lens to examine forces behind what makes a person come to such drastic actions, and how these decisions affect those around them – whether they realize it or not. Each character delivers a new perspective of what drives them to make the choices that lead up to a dramatic and violent conclusion. While the songs are fictional, Cassidy can’t help but find pieces of himself in all the tracks. By taking himself out of the story, he tapped in to something deeper, allowing himself to write about subjects he was wary to delve in to previously.
While the songwriter heroes of Cassidy’s like Springsteen and Tom Petty are obvious influences, other more subtle influences like Kendrick Lamar or the works of director David Lowry and author/screenwriter Dennis Lehane are at work here as well. Building on his past releases, Cassidy continues to write about the lives of normal people, often riding the line between right and wrong. Running Blind was produced by Jacob Hanson and calls on a crack team of musicians Cassidy has been working with onstage for the last few years- the All Night Canyons as well as the Red Daughters Band. The arrangements came naturally and the well worn chemistry between the musicians shines through on these recordings.
The story of the record focuses on Ray and Louie, old friends who concoct the perfect plan to rob a check cashing store. Ray is haunted by a past he is trying to leave behind, reminiscing about a love lost who wants nothing to do with him. He is pulled back into the life by his old friend Louie, a manipulative smooth talker whose silver tongue has kept him out of trouble thus far. Their plan embroils the cowardly inside man Johnny, a night clerk at the store working two jobs while struggling to keep himself and his family afloat. The whole thing ensnares others including lovers and innocent bystanders. The lead single, “Dallas”, highlights the story of the endearing father who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught in the deadly crossfire of the crime. When the robbery doesn’t go as planned, lives are shattered and what has been lost can never be rebuilt.