Sam Ness
Friday 9/20 | 4:30-5:30 PM | Main Stage


From theater performer, to full-time busker and wanderer, festivals and cafes, Sam Ness has shared the stage with America (The Band), Styx, Night Ranger, Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), and many others. Mixing Traditional Folk/Americana roots with a new-age Alternative Singer/Songwriter feel, Sam Ness finds inspiration in the ancient cobblestone streets across the globe. Sometimes wild and dance oriented, other moments raw, emotional, and punctuated by moments of silence, Sam’s show changes every night.  His percussive playing paired with an assortment of special effects including a loop system, have built a sound larger than many full bands. Sam has taken home a handful of Madison (Wisconsin) Area Music Awards including Male Vocalist of the Year (2019, 2020, 2021, 2023), Acoustic Guitar Player of the Year (2023), Folk Song of the Year - She Is Love (2022), Alternative Album of the Year (Whispered on the Wind 2018) (City Lights and Smoke 2022), Madison Area Breakthrough Artist Second Runner up (2017), Cover Song of the Year (Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me 2020), Unique Performer of the Year (2021). 

Sam’s new album, City Lights and Smoke, is a story of the road. It’s the story of an introvert playing over a thousand shows across many countries, traveling to explore not only external places but the internal self. It’s sticking out your thumb in hope, it’s fumbling for a light switch in the dark. It’s the story of looking back at one’s self across the stage lights, back alley puddles, and rear view mirrors. It’s repair shop coffee. It’s City Lights and Smoke.


Sam Ness Website