Tunes with Thomas: Sammy Rae & The Friends

Fun, glittery tunes and friendship: what more could you want?

Thomas DeLapp

More stories from Thomas DeLapp

Everyone likes having friends. Most people like listening to music.  If you like friends and music, then you have to check out Sammy Rae & The Friends, a lovely alternative indie rock group led by Samantha Bowers: the eponymous Sammy Rae.

Many people probably already listen to The Friends, but for those who don’t: get ready to be happy.

The Brooklyn-based band is composed of lead singer Sammy Rae, a horn section, rhythm and background singer/dancers, and they funk and jive like no other. Together, they sound like if The Lumineers got really into glitter, jazz and dancing around.  

Plus, adorably, The Friends are real-life friends; their Instagram page is filled with pictures of them hiking, hanging out and piercing each other’s ears.  They’ve said they’re a family first, and a band second. Aww.  

Releasing their first EP, “The Good Life,” in 2018, Sammy Rae & The Friends saw pretty fast success, booking lots more of their energetic, glitzy live shows.

“The Good Life” is really fun, and I recommend it as a first listen.  “Talk It Up,” the fourth out of five tracks, was the first Sammy Rae song I listened to way back in the day, and it remains my favorite.  “The Feeling” and “Kick It to Me” are also tons of fun.

A 2020 single, “Jackie Onassis,” was a spot of light during lockdown, and The Friends released a few more singles in those blurry 2020-21 years.

In 2021, Sammy Rae & The Friends dropped their second EP, “Let’s Throw a Party,” which definitely is a party.  While my heart doesn’t hold the same love for it as “The Good Life,” it’s a solid, delightful EP.  Check out the title track “Let’s Throw a Party!” 

Another one of my favorites is a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” the classic by Tears for Fears.  The Friends make it much more jazzy, and listening to it makes me want to be in a live audience singing along. Their latest single, “Follow Me Like the Moon” released in January, and is, as expected, a bop.

Speaking of live audiences — Sammy Rae & The Friends are very inclusive about who “the friends” are.  While it’s the title of the band, they also call fans “friends.” 

“The Friends is the community of followers, artists and creatives who help us in the creation of these songs and this world,” their website states. “Our shows are safe spaces for you to do your thing; raise your voice, wear your funky clothes and dance how you like. We don’t have fans, we have Friends.”

In this spirit, Rae, who identifies as queer, said The Friends actively try to create spaces in their performances and music for underrepresented and minoritized groups, particuarly female and queer artists.  

The band’s mantra, listed on their website, is a nice written summary of their music and drive:

“Go put a smile on somebody’s face, go tell somebody they’ve got a place in this world, go tell somebody you wanna be friends with them.” 

With spring happily turning the corner, I highly recommend you stick some Sammy Rae & The Friends into your playlists. It often feels genre-less, but it always feels fun.  It’s the kind of music to listen to with your friends, and that’s the best kind of music.

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected]