Smooth As Satin, Hard As A Nickel

Bruce Von Stiers

Collaborations in the music world aren't out of the ordinary. In fact, it happens quite often. But what happens when you put two thespians and musical artists together? A very unique and exciting experience.

Such is the case of Morgan Hollingsworth and Samantha Aneson. Both of them are alum of the same university. They both have acting several credits as well as singing credits. Morgan has playwright credits too. The two of them got together a couple of years ago over their shared love of Americana and folk music. While their styles contrasted somewhat, they started working together in a manner they deemed to be smooth as satin, yet hard as a nickel. Hence the name of the band they formed, Satin Nickel.

While Morgan mainly does vocals, he also plays guitar and the mandolin. Samantha plays guitar and banjo in addition to providing lead and backing vocals. In the band, they are joined by Nikola Balac on drums and Ariana Karp on cello. Nicola is also an actor, appearing in a few film shorts and a couple of television shows. Ariana has been in several international theatrical productions and currently serves as the Artistic Director for the International Shakespeare Center Santa Fe. To round out the band, there is bassist Andrew Shewaga.

Satin Nickel is releasing their first full-length album in April of this year, 2020. The album is titled Shadow of Doubt. It was recorded and engineered by Kamilo Kratc at the Soundworks Recording Studio.

Shadow of Doubt has nine songs and a play time of thirty-six minutes.

Train Song is the first song on the album. It has a nice, fluid sound that has a lot of Americana flavor. There is some cool guitar and good, strong vocals.

Samantha does an excellent job with her vocals on Call It. It is a love lost ballad that has soft parts mixed with mid-level pop sounds. There is some nice cello backing Samantha's vocals.

Toe tapping music can be found in Second Hand Smoke. As first listen, the song seems to be about having to be around second hand smoke and how it can end a relationship before it even starts. But it actually has a more deep seated meaning than that, because relationships can become far less than we desire, or go in a different direction than we want them to be. Someone else described the song as being “more intense and metaphysical” than just having to deal a person's smoking.

Last Night is a mellow love loss song with great guitar and fluid vocals from Samantha.

Just Keep Running has a dark rock tone. That fits the story that tells of a man killing his lover for cheating on him. And that now he's running from both the law and her ghost. The song has some really tough cello in it.

Moving things back to a mellow mood is Free. Samantha has beautiful vocals in this song. There is some really good guitar in the song as well. It is my favorite song on the album.

There have been songs written about legends such as John Henry. This album has a song that tells a very interesting story. The song is titled The Ballad of Yankee Jim. It starts out soft and gentle and moves into a moderate pace. In parts, the song becomes a bit harsh and dark. Morgan does a great job with his vocals, both spoken and sung. And Samantha does well with backing vocals. The song is about Yankee Jim, a criminal who was hung for a crime he supposedly didn't commit. The song ends with a warning about the ghost of Yankee Jim haunting those who done him wrong. The song is based on fact. There was a Yankee Jim who was hung in the early 1850's in San Diego. It is said that Yankee Jim's ghost haunts the Whaley House, which stands on the spot where he was hung.

Good Love has a sort of alt pop flavor mixed in with Americana. Samantha has great vocals and Morgan blends in real nice with backing vocals.

The album closes with The Shadow of Doubt. It has a rock ballad tone to it. Morgan does a great job on the vocal and Samantha does well with backing vocals. Samantha also has some very cool banjo playing in the song.

I really enjoyed this album. From the mellow tones of Last Night, Call It and Free to the harder sound of Just Keep Running, this album has a lot to offer. I especially liked the tale of Yankee Jim and cool rock ballad sound of The Shadow of Doubt.

You currently have the opportunity to pre-save the album at

To find out more about Satin Nickel, visit their official web site at . The band also has a Facebook band page at

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers