Sam Kogon has had a varied career so far, which has the appearance of at least stumbling always into good fortune. He briefly sang lead vocals in the reformed 1960s group The Left Banke in 2015, then went on to release a couple of psych-pop albums showing off his Sixties influences. An acting stint saw him cast as a musician 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 John Agnello who had produced the likes of Kurt Vile and Dinosaur Jr. The result was Kogon’s new upcoming self-titled EP, from which ‘Barbed Wire‘ is both the lead single and opening track.
For all the imagery of being fenced in by barbed wire, burning tires and unquenchable fires ‘Barbed Wire‘ is actually a love song. Not your typical syrupy love song, but a love song anyway. As Sam Kogon explained to Americana UK: “‘Barbed Wire’ is a song about accepting love, denying love, unrequited love, infatuation, and coming out of the closet. It’s inspired by two friends exchanging songs they write as coded love letters. One friend wants their love to come off the page and the other friend can only express their true feelings in song. Running away with or from someone who isn’t emotionally available can get you tangled in the barbed wire fences they put up at the first signs of vulnerability, so I chose that as the title of the song. The one friend trying to move forward is asking (rhetorically) “Is this love? Is this love? I need to know right now…and could you even tell me right now”. They already know the answer: Sometimes there isn’t a happy ending or closure; sometimes we get burnt like tires, and that’s ok. ”