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Gordie Sampson

Gordie Sampson
Gordie Sampson performing at Granville Green concert series in Port Hawkesbury NS. Aug 9th 2015.
Background information
Birth name Gordon Francis Sampson
Born (1971-07-30) July 30, 1971
Big Pond, Nova Scotia, Canada
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, producer, recording artist
Instruments Guitar, piano, bass, drums, bouzouki, accordion, fiddle
Years active 1990–present
Labels MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
Associated acts Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert

Gordie Sampson (born July 30, 1971) is a Grammy award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and producer from Big Pond, Nova Scotia.

Beginning his career as a performer on his hometown island of Cape Breton, both in bands and on his own, Sampson has gone on to achieve international success as a songwriter based in Nashville. He has written songs for Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Rascal Flatts, among many other country performers.[1] He has also released four albums to date as a solo performer.[2]

Sampson has received many awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, a Juno Award, two ASCAP Awards, 14 East Coast Music Awards, and honorary degrees from Cape Breton University and St. Francis Xavier University[3][4]


  • Background 1
  • Career 2
  • Discography 3
    • Albums 3.1
    • Singles 3.2
  • Gordie Sampson songs covered by other artists 4
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Sampson's only musical training as a child were piano lessons he took from his mother, Florence Ley. He remembers being surrounded by fiddlers, who were very common in Cape Breton. Initially, he had no interest in fiddle music, but only wanted to be in a rock'n'roll band.[5] He taught himself to play guitar and played in school bands in both junior high and high school.[6]

Sampson attended Riverview Rural High School in the late 1980s.[7] His first band was called Ricochet; he played with them at age 17, straight out of high school, going on a six-month tour of the Maritimes.[6] After that, in the early 1990s, he was invited to join the Nova Scotia band Realworld with brothers Jamie and Matthew Foulds.[8] The group released one CD, Dig;[8] three singles from the album, all co-written by Sampson, were Top 10 hits in Canada in 1994. But the band was growing apart, and broke up later that year.[6]


After Realworld disbanded, Sampson found himself increasingly interested in exploring the traditional Celtic music for which Cape Breton is well known. Gigging with local musicians led him to a place in Ashley MacIsaac's band just as MacIsaac was seeking a fusion of traditional Celtic music with contemporary rock'n'roll.[6] Sampson co-wrote two songs on MacIsaac's successful 1996 debut album, Hi™ How Are You Today?[9]

Around this same time, Sampson became a part of Rita MacNeil's band, both on the road and on her popular weekly CBC show Rita and Friends,.[5] He also toured with the Nova Scotia-based family music group The Rankin Family.[6]

Sampson recorded his first solo album in 1998, entitled Stones, which was recorded at Lakewind Sound Studios in Point Aconi, Nova Scotia—a recording studio Sampson and partner Fred Lavery built together in 1996.[10] The album was nominated for a Juno Award;[1] the single, "Sorry," won three East Coast Music Awards.[11]

In the late 1990s, Sampson also began to concentrate more on his songwriting, with the aim of getting other musicians to record his songs. Over time he began to see how challenging this was going to be from his Cape Breton hometown. In 2005, he moved with his wife and baby to Nashville, even though knew very little about country music at that point.[12]

Within a year, Sampson had co-written "Jesus, Take the Wheel," former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood had recorded it, and the song was number one on the Billboard country music chart for six weeks. Sampson has said that the song was inspired by the death of an acquaintance in a car accident on a highway in Nova Scotia two years earlier.[12] "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was co-written with Brett James and Hillary Lindsey.[13]

Sampson has been quoted as saying that the success of "Jesus, Take the Wheel" "worked wonders for my music career."[12] He has since written songs which have been recorded by Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Trace Adkins, LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson,and many other well-known country performers. He wrote the song "Any Other Day" for the 2007 Bon Jovi album Lost Highway. He has produced albums for Natalie McMaster and Damhnait Doyle.[14]

Sampson has also recorded three more solo albums since his 1998 debut. His second CD, Sunburn (2004), was largely written in partnership with Troy Verges and Blair Daly . Sampson produced the CD and played the majority of the instruments on the album, including guitars, bass, drums and piano. The album was recorded at Lakewind Sound Studios, as well as in studios in Toronto and Nashville. For The Few And Far Between was released in 2008; it was nominated for a 2009 Juno Award and was the recipient of two East Coast Music Awards.[14] Almost Beautiful came out in 2011, and is the first solo album of his to move away from the rootsy pop music of his previous releases and towards the kind of country music he has been writing for others for many years.[15]

Sampson lives in Nashville with his wife, Helen Musial, and their daughter Amelie.[16] He still returns to Cape Breton for a couple of months every summer.[15]

In 2010, the Gordie Sampson Songcamp was conceived by Sampson as a way to encourage and develop young songwriters from across Nova Scotia. Sampson attends the intensive, five-day event every year, often accompanied by special professional guests.[17]



  • Stones (1998)
  • Sunburn (2004)
  • For the Few and Far Between (2008)
  • Almost Beautiful (2011)


Year Single Chart Positions Album
1999 "Sorry" 20 Stones
2004 "Sunburn" * Sunburn
2005 "Hangin' by a Wire" *
"You (Or Somebody Like You)" *
2011 "Hurricane Jane" * Almost Beautiful
2012 "Any Other Memory" *
"Thank My Lucky Stars" *

Gordie Sampson songs covered by other artists

These are songs written or co-written by Sampson and covered by other artists:[18][19]

  • “Down In Flames“ Chris Isaak (2015) Vanguard Records
  • “I Hope Its Me“ Brett Kissell (2015) Warner Music Canada
  • “Bombshell“ Ashley Monroe (2015) Warner Music Nashville
  • “We Need To Talk“ BACHMAN (2015) 12 Hit Wonder/Linus Entertainment
  • “Withdrawals“ Tyler Farr (2015) Columbia Nashville
  • “Can't Say No To You“ Hayden Panettiere and Chris Carmack (2014) Big Machine
  • “Dreamgirl“ The Best of Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Hunter Hayes (2014) EMI Nashville / Relativity
  • “It's Just My Heart Talkin'“ Los Lonely Boys (2014) BMI
  • “Let There Be Lonely“ Jonathan Jackson (2014) Big Machine
  • “Nothing Like Starting Over“ Hunter Hayes (2014) Atlantic
  • “Girl In Your Truck Song“ Maggie Rose (2014) RPM Entertainment
  • “747“ Lady Antebellum (2014) Capitol Nashville
  • “You Know You're Home“ Tim Hicks (2014) RGK
  • “The Songwriters“ Willie Nelson (2014) Sony Music Entertainment
  • “Noise“ Radney Foster (2014) Devil's River
  • “Talk Myself Outta Fallin'“ Radney Foster (2014) Devil's River
  • “Falling So Hard“ Jimmy Rankin (2014) Fontana North
  • “Blame It All On You“ Jimmy Rankin (2014) Fontana North
  • “Let There Be Lonely“ Secret Sisters (2014) Republic Records
  • “Drink You Up“ Sarah Davidson (2014) Suretone Records
  • “Famous“ Kelleigh Bannen (2013) EMI Records Nashville
  • “Never Like This“ Danielle Bradbery (2013) Big Machine
  • “Jesus Take The Wheel“ Danielle Bradbery (2013) Big Machine
  • “Song About a Girl“ Eric Paslay (2013) EMI Records Nashville
  • “Good With Wine“ Eric Paslay (2013) EMI Records Nashville
  • “23 Degrees and South” Billy Currington (2013) Mercury Nashville
  • “Rodeo” Rachel Bradshaw (2013)
  • “My Favourite Picture Of You” Guy Clark (2013) Dualtone
  • “If I Had Another Heart” Randy Rogers Band (2013) MCA Nashville
  • “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” Cassadee Pope (2013) Republic Nashville
  • “This Car” Cassadee Pope (2013) Republic Nashville
  • “Bourbon In Kentucky” Dierks Bentley (2013) Capitol Nashville
  • "All Cried Out" Kree Harrison, (May 2013) 19 Recordings
  • "Leave Love Alone" Carrie Underwood, Blown Away (May 2012) Arista
  • "Great Big Love" Rascal Flatts, Changed (April 2012) Big Machine
  • "Let It Hurt" Rascal Flatts, Changed (April 2012) Big Machine
  • "Over You By Now" - Jana Kramer (2012)
  • "Too Good To Be True" - Edens Edge (2012)
  • "Paper Heart" Stealing Angels, Stealing Angels (May 2011) Skyville Records
  • "One Last Goodbye" Donny & Marie Osmond, Donny & Marie (May 2011) MPCA
  • "Love Looks Good On You" Randy Travis & Kristin Chenoweth, Anniversary Celebration (June 2011) Warner Bros.
  • "She's A Wildflower" (aka "Wildflower") Lauren Alaina, Wildflower (October 2011) Mercury
  • "Tupelo" Lauren Alaina, Wildflower (October 2011) Mercury
  • "Storm Warning" Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes (October 2011) Atlantic [20]
  • "Better In The Long Run" Miranda Lambert w/ Blake Shelton, Four the Record (November 2011) Sony Music
  • "My Favourite Picture of You" Jerry Jeff Walker, A Tribute to Guy Clark (November 2011) Icehouse Music
  • "Learning To Fly" Aselin Debison, Homeward Bound (2010) Aselin Music Inc
  • "Lie A Little" Aselin Debison, Homeward Bound (2010) Aselin Music Inc
  • "Close To You" Aselin Debison, Homeward Bound (2010) Aselin Music Inc
  • "Too Far To Drive" Aselin Debison, Homeward Bound (2010) Aselin Music Inc
  • "She's A Wildflower" (aka "Wildflower") Point of Grace, No Changin' Us (March 2010) Word Entertainment
  • "Unmistakeable" Jo Dee Messina, Unmistakable (April 2010) Curb
  • "Damn The Rain" Randy Rogers, Band Burning The Day (August 2010) MCA Nashville
  • "Kiss Goodbye" Little Big Town, The Reason Why (August 2010) Capitol
  • "You're Not Leaving Me" Martina McBride, Shine (March 2009) RCA/Sony
  • "Davey Jones" The Greencards, Facination (April 2009)
  • "That Kinda Beautiful" Emerson Drive, Believe (May 2009) Valory
  • "Someday When I Stop Loving You" Carrie Underwood, Play On (November 2009) Arista Nashville
  • "This Time" Carrie Underwood, Play On (November 2009) Arista Nashville
  • "All I Wanted Was A Slow Dance" Julianne Hough Julianne Hough (2008) Mercury
  • "Too Good To Be True" Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough (2008) Mercury
  • "That's What The Night Is For" Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough (2008) Mercury
  • "Might As Well Be Making Love" Jessica Simpson, Do You Know (September 2008) Epic, Columbia Nashville
  • "538 Stars" Tara Oram, Chasing The Sun (October 2008) Open Road/Sugar Hill Records
  • "When I Said I Would" Whitney Duncan, Whitney Duncan (2007) Warner Bros.
  • "Open Road" Whitney Duncan, Whitney Duncan (2007) Warner Bros.
  • "Measure of a Man" Jack Ingram, This Is It (March 2007) Big Machine
  • "Get Me Through December" Alison Krauss, A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection (April 2007) Rounder
  • "If I Had Your Name" Martina McBride, Waking Up Laughing (April 2007) RCA
  • "On Any Other Day" Bon Jovi, Lost Highway (June 2007) Island / Mercury
  • "Oh Love" Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood, 5th Gear (June 2007) Arista Nashville
  • "Get Out of This Town" Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride (October 2007) Arista Nashville
  • "Just A Dream" Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride (October 2007) Arista Nashville
  • "Words Get In The Way" Trace Adkins, Dangerous Man (August 2006) Capitol
  • "(When) God Made A Woman" Keith Urban, Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing (November 2006) Capitol
  • "Fear of Flying" Shelly Fairchild, Ride (May 2005) Sony Music Distribution
  • "You Or Somebody Like You" Keith Urban, Days Go By (May 2005) Capitol
  • "Paris" Faith Hill, Fireflies (August 2005) Warner Bros.
  • "Hurricane Jane" Colin Raye, Twenty Years and Change (October 2005) Aspirion
  • "Jesus, Take The Wheel" Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts (November 2005) Arista Nashville
  • "My Name" George Canyon, One Good Friend (September 2004) Universal South
  • "The Hard Way" Keith Urban, Be Here (September 2004) Capitol
  • "My Heart Beats For Love" Miley Cyrus, Can't Be Tamed (July 1995) Hollywood Records
  • "King for A Day" Crush, Face in the Crowd (June 1995) Sonic
  • "So Sorry Mama" Whitney Duncan, Footloose Soundtrack Warner Bros.
  • "Maybe You're Right" - The Rankin Family
  • "Followed Her Around" - Jimmy Rankin
  • "Seeing Things" - Aaron Lines
  • "Cry Baby" – Carolyn Dawn Johnson
  • "Get Me Through December" - Natalie MacMaster with Alison Krauss

Awards and nominations

  • Grammys
  • Juno Awards
    • 2009 - Songwriter of The Year - For The Few and Far Between "Davey Jones"
    • 2009 - Songwriter of the Year "When I Said I Would - Duncan Whitney (Nomination)
    • 2007 - Songwriter of The Year, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (WON)
    • 2005 - Songwriter of The Year, "Sunburn", "Paris" and "You (Or Somebody Like You)" (Nomination)
    • 2000 - Best Instrumental Album - In My Hands - Natalie MacMaster, (WON)
    • 1999 - Best Roots & Traditional Album - Solo - Stones (Nomination)
  • CMA
    • 2006 Song of the Year for "Jesus, Take the Wheel" (WON)
  • Nashville Songwriters Association
    • 2006 - International Songwriter Achievement Award "Jesus, Take the Wheel" (WON)
    • 2006 - International Song of the Year Award "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (WON)
  • ASCAP Award
    • 2007 - Christian Award - Top 25 Song "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (WON)
    • 2006 Song of the Year "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (WON)
  • Academy of Country Music Award
  • Great American Song Contest
    • 2005 Pop/Contemporary, "Paris" (WON)
    • 2005 Pop/Contemporary "Sunburn" (WON)
  • CCMA Award
    • 2006 - Songwriter of the Year, Carrie Underwood "Jesus, Take the Wheel" (WON)
    • 2006 - Songwriter of the Year, Carolyn Dawn Johnson "Crybaby" (Nomination)
    • 2005 - Single of the Year, WON)
    • 2005 - Song of the Year, WON)
    • 2000 - Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration "Get Me Through December" (WON)
  • ECMA Awards
    • 2012 - Country Recording of the Year - Almost Beautiful (WON)
    • 2012 - Solo Recording of the Year - Almost Beautiful (WON)
    • 2009, 2005 "Sunburn", 2004 "King for a Day" (Crush), 2002, 2001 "Get Me Through December", 2000 "Sorry" - Songwriter of the Year (WON)
    • 2009, 2005 "Jesus, Take The Wheel", 2000 "Sorry" - Single of the Year (WON)
    • 2009 - FACTOR Recording of the Year - For the Few and Far Between (Nomination)
    • 2009 - Male Solo Recording of the Year - For the Few and Far Between (Nomination)
    • 2009 - Pop Recording of the Year - For the Few and Far Between (Nomination)
    • 2005 - Album of the Year - Sunburn (WON)
    • 2005 - Male Artist of the Year - Sunburn (WON)
    • 2005 - Pop Recording of the Year - Sunburn (WON)
    • 2000 - Video of the Year "Sorry" (WON)
    • 1999 - New Artist of the Year (WON)
  • International Songwriting Competition
    • 2008 - Folk Category "Davey Jones" (WON)
    • 2005 - Performance Category "Paris" (WON)
  • Music Nova Scotia Awards (MIANS)
    • 2004 - Album of the Year - Sunburn (WON)
    • 2004, 2000 - Male Artist of the Year (WON)
    • 2004 - Pop/Rock Album of the Year - Sunburn (WON)
    • 2004 - SOCAN Songwriter of the Year (WON)
    • 2003 - Producer of the Year (WON)
    • 2000 - Songwriter of the Year - Stones (WON)
    • 1999 - Producer of the Year - In My Hands (Natalie MacMaster)(WON)
  • SOCAN Awards
    • 2006 - Most Country Airplay, "My Name" (WON)
    • 2006 - Outstanding Success Airplay, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (WON)
    • 2002 - Most Country Airplay "Followed Her Around" (Jimmy Rankin) (WON)
  • Canadian Radio Music Awards
    • 2000 - Pop Adult Best Solo Artist (Nomination)
  • John Lennon Songwriting Contest
    • 2000 - Pop Category Finalist "Sorry"
  • Benelux International Song & Cultural Festival
    • Best Entry - Canada
  • Cape Breton University
    • 2013 - Received a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (honorary degree)


  1. ^ a b "Gordie Sampson". International Musician Magazine. New York, NY: American Federation of Musicians. March 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Gordie Sampson discography". Rovi Corp. 
  3. ^ Gillis, John. "Gordie Sampson: CBU bestows singer/songwriter with honorary degree". The Inverness Oran. Inverness, Nova Scotia. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ "StFX to honour a champion of human services and a songwriting legend during Fall Convocation 2013". Antigonish, Nova Scotia: St. Francis Xavier University. November 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Barnard, Elissa (January 29, 1998), Soars Solo "Sampson Soars Solo" , Halifax Herald 
  6. ^ a b c d e Mahalik, Dave (October 1, 1998). "Gordie Sampson: King of Pop Music". Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: WGO Media. 
  7. ^ Guy, Greg (October 1, 1998), "Gordie's groovin", Halifax Herald 
  8. ^ a b Crowe, Peter. "Real World". Nova Scotia Classic Rock. 
  9. ^ "Ashley MacIssac - Hi How Are You Today?". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Lakewind Sound Studios". Nova Scotia Come to Life. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Province of Nova Scotia. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Gordie Sampson". Independent Artists Company. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "Gordie Sampson's road from Nova Scotia to Nashville". CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. February 2, 2007. 
  13. ^ Newsome, Sparky (November 16, 2006). Jesus, Take the Wheel" earns top honors for Hillary Lindsey""". The News-Reporter. Washington, Georgia: Wilkes Publishing Co., Inc. 
  14. ^ a b "Gordie Sampson - credits". Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Grant, Jean (July 14, 2011). """Gordie Sampson releasing country album "Almost Beautiful. Cape Breton Post. Sydney, Nova Scotia: TC Media. 
  16. ^ Edwards, Kelley (February 23, 2013). "Helen Musial - Giving Up on Gluten". Sea and be Scene. Chester, Nova Scotia: Sea and Be 
  17. ^ "Gordie Sampson Songcamp set to celebrate fifth anniversary". Sydney, Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Post. June 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Gordie Sampson credits". Rovi Corp. 
  19. ^ "Gordie Sampson credits". 
  20. ^

External links

  • Official site
  • Maple Music
  • Management company
  • Gordie Sampson Songcamp home page
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