Sam Roberts has never been one to avoid a challenge.
In fact, the Canadian singer, songwriter and bandleader revels in the "methods of torture" that his co-producers bring to his group's recording sessions. But even by Roberts' standards, working with Youth -- Martin Glover, the British musician and producer whose credits include Paul McCartney, The Verve, Marilyn Manson and More -- on his new album "Lo-Fantasy" was an entirely different experience.
"We really worked on this record and left no stone unturned," says Roberts, 39, who's won since Canadian Juno Awards and is endeared to the Motor City for his 2009 single "Detroit '67." "I'd have all these songs and ides very set in my mind and well-defined, and Youth came in and put them to task. Every step of the way, everything was questioned. Everything was pushed and pulled and stretched and erased and brought back to life -- literally, until we pressed Stop on the last take of the last day.
"That's his method -- keep the song alive, keep the song breathing and growing until you say, 'OK, that's it.' He was quite the taskmaster."
Roberts says that one thing Youth helped the group realize was that "we need to play live in the studio to, I think, capture the essence of the band on tape. One of the only songs that we've ever fully recorded live off the floor was 'Detroit '67;' since that time we'll record bass and drums together and maybe a bit of guitar, but never everything at the same time, the way we did with Youth.
"The first few takes were nerve-wracking, but pretty soon you realize this is where you're most comfortable. We spend far more time playing on stage than we do recording albums in the studio, so to narrow the gap between the two ended up working to our advantage, and I think you can hear that on the album."
The Sam Roberts Band performs Saturday, April 26, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$35. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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