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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Life + Arts

Stephen Sanchez brings Golden Age nostalgia to White Oak Music Hall

Stephen Sanchez gave an electrifying performance Friday night at White Oak Music Hall. | Cindy Rivas Alfaro/The Cougar

On a cold, rainy Friday night, an assortment of people dressed in 1950s attire gathered at White Oak Music Hall to listen to eccentric old soul, Stephen Sanchez. 

Known for his single “Until I Found You,” Sanchez takes listeners back to the days when rock ‘n’ roll and the blues were intricately intertwined to form one of the most romantic eras in music. 

In September, Sanchez came out with his album “Angel Face” which he feels is an accumulation of these old-school inspirations and passions. 

“The accidental, you know, playful attempts at writing a ‘50s love song came in the form of ‘Until I Found You,’ and then a more intentional attempt came with this new record,” Sanchez said. “It’s just something that feels like I’ve been working on my whole life.” 

Sanchez has been compared to Elvis Presley and Elton John. The latter of whom he got to perform with on the Pyramid Stage in England during this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

The similarities are uncanny, especially when he performs his songs like “Shake” which really takes the crowd back in time. It was one of the easiest songs to write for him and perform, considering he said he wrote it in the shower before going into the studio. 

When it comes to performing the song, Sanchez isn’t afraid to twist and turn. As he shuffles his feet across the stage, he brings a taste of the past to the crowd that electrifies the air. 

Sanchez creates an undeniable synergy between himself and the audience when he takes the stage. This was on full display Friday night as the crowd at White Oak Music Hall mirrored the singer in excitement and attire — with many attendees clad in suits, fine dresses and Golden Age-style fedoras. 

But just as Sanchez’s music can electrify a dance floor, he also has a strong selection of slow, heart-wrenching ballads sure to bring a tear to the eye of the most stoic of listeners. 

“No One Knows,” which he sings and co-wrote with Icelandic singer-songwriter Laufey, is a devastating song about how love can tear people apart rather than bring them together. It’s one of Sanchez’s favorite songs on the album. 

Laufey was not present at the concert, but Sanchez still can’t believe he was able to write a song with such talented, influential people. 

“‘No One Knows’ as far as the sentimental bits would have to be my favorite, and having Laufey be a part of it is unbelievable. Having written the song with my musical heroes like Lord Huron band has been such a tremendous influence in my life,” Sanchez said. 

Despite just releasing his album and currently on tour, there is not a time when he’s not thinking about music. Music is everything to Sanchez, and there are several other songs that didn’t make it on the album. Not because they were bad, but just because after the album was finished, more were written just for fun. 

“There are definitely some that will show up somewhere else,” Sanchez said. 

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