OVINGHAM’S Sam Shields is a name that has been cropping up a lot in recent months in relation to the Tyne Valley’s music scene.

After playing a number of gigs all around the North-East, including the Vault in Hexham and Bar Loco in Newcastle, the 21-year-old made the lineup for this year’s Corbridge Festival.

Performing at Tynedale’s best-known musical festival will see Sam share the stage with major names such as the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Futureheads and Reef.

A warm-up charity gig alongside his band at Newbrough Town Hall to raise funds for the venue saw more than 100 people turn out to see him perform.

Since launching his debut, four-track EP, There’s a Place I Know, in December, Sam has been inundated with gig offers and has played all around the North-East, and his career is starting to pick up the pace.

Sam said: “It just seems to have come out of nowhere. It’s been going really well, Corbridge Festival asked me to play which was a bit of a surprise.

“I’ve been playing my own stuff for a few years now.

“My first EP came out in December and that’s also been going really well, the feedback has been good.”

But although music is now the focus of the former Prudhoe High School student’s life, it wasn’t always the case.

Sam explained: “I was always really shy at school. I did some guitar lessons in Year Three and Four, but then I put the guitar down for about five years.

“I became a football lad – a bad footballer at that. Then I played in a few bands at school, and by the time I started playing live I was singing as well.

“I’m studying music now, I’m at Gateshead College doing a foundation degree.

“I was working in a bar part time, but I found I was turning down gigs to work shifts.

“They were letting some people go, so I decided to free up more time time for gigs.”

The first thing anyone listening to Sam’s music will note is that it’s not the typical indie-rock practised by many musicians of his age.

There’s more than a hint of the legendary Bob Dylan, which is perhaps unsurprising, given that Sam is quick to name the American song-writer as one of his main musical influences, alongside the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Nick Cave.

The love for the genre grew from a teenage Sam’s reluctant attendance at a gig at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

He continued: “Bob Dylan is a big influence as is Bruce Springsteen.

“I was always into indie like Oasis and bands like that.

“I went to a Springsteen gig at the Stadium of Light – my Dad dragged me along, I was like ‘do I have to go?’

“But then he came on, and played for three and a half hours, there was no special effects or anything. It was just him and the band.

“You can’t not love the bloke, and now I love the American songwriters.”

Fans of Sam’s work will be pleased to know he’s back in the studio recording – although he’s not sure what his latest work will turn out to be.

In fact, he’s not one for forward planning, and has his sights firmly set on putting on a good show at the upcoming Corbridge Festival, which takes place over the weekend beginning June 28.

Sam added: “I’m recording again now, but I don’t know if it’s going to be another EP or a couple of singles. I want to release it in the summer near Corbridge Festival.

“Recording and playing live are two totally different skills. Hopefully Corbridge goes well.

“You can’t look too far ahead, you have to take things seriously but you can’t plan it all out.”

Sam’s EP, which features singles There’s A Place I Know, Won’t Hear From Me, The City Clock and The Leaving Song, is available to purchase on Amazon and Spotify.