2023.09.23 - Sammy Rae - XPoNential Music Festival 2023

I’d like to officially nominate Sammy Rae & The Friends as the grooviest performance thus far at the 2023 XPoNential Music Fest. There is commanding the stage and then there is what Rae and company just accomplished during their Saturday afternoon set at the River Stage, owning every single moment of their performance and earning more than a few new fans.

Clad in splashy rain gear, Sammy Rae & The Friends injected the gray afternoon with a healthy dose of color, their blend of jazz, soul, and R&B was a wonderful addition to the Saturday lineup, and a perfect antidote to the grey day. Sammy Rae is an absolutely electric singer, moving about the stage with a smooth grace this writer could only dream of and displaying a vocal range to match any performer I’ve ever seen play the River Stage. It’s the kind of energy that is instanty contagious, quickly making its way through the Wiggins Park audience till everyone is moving their feet whether they planned to or not. Their surprising choice to cover Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”, specifically, was an absolute showstopper, reminding everyone of a song they probably haven’t thought about for years and giving new life. The Friends, too, were quite impressive in their own right, decked out with two saxophones and a whole lot of soulful energy.

“I want you to go put a smile on somebody’s face,” Rae said from the stage toward the end of the set. It was a plea to pay it forward, to carry the energy from her dynamic set into the rest of the night, a message that certainly resonated with the euphoric audience giving Sammy Ray & The Friends their deserved ovation.

Sammy Rae & The Friends
XPoNential Music Festival
  • Talk It Up
  • Moon
  • Jackie O
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  • Luck of The Draw
  • The Feeling
  • Kick It To Me
  • Let's Throw A Party