For Lindsey Sampson, creating music is solving puzzles with pieces of her own devising. She collects tidbits and fragments—voice memos, a wayward lyric, streams of consciousness—which, once gathered, insinuate themselves into something song-shaped. “There comes a moment when a few ideas will click into place or I’ll find a theme or a string of connection between a few words or tunes,” she explained. “And then it becomes a matter of sitting down to assemble what’s most important from the pieces I’ve collected.”

“Naomi” is her latest completed puzzle. The Naomi of the title is not a personal acquaintance, but one half of the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible. “Basically, it’s the story of a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law who forge this incredible bond of loyalty in the middle of a famine in the desert,” Sampson explained. “At first glance it’s a really strange story, but the more I dug into it around this time last year, the more I found thematic parallels in my own life—deep, intimate friendship between strong women; walking paths of uncertainty with hope and optimism; and trusting the slow process of a long life.”

The song starts simply: just Sampson’s whistle-clear voice over singly plucked octaves on ukulele. But “Naomi” is a song of journey and a song of movement; the ukulele swiftly picks up the pace and eventually runs away with frantic arpeggios. The story of the hard-up mother- and daughter-in-law was speaking to Sampson, but the song started with the lines “you say you’re headed westward / then I’ll be westward too,” followed by the central phrase, “I’m not tired / I’ll be here in the morning.”

Lindsey Sampson’s endeavors as a solo musician are relatively new; she is also one half of the duo Floorcloud with Nate Ciruolo. Although they just released their debut EP, The Floorcloud EP, last December, the two started playing together in 2014. Although she’d been writing songs for some time, it wasn’t until she met Ciruolo that those songs went anywhere other than her notebooks. And then, about a year ago, she decided to expand: “I started playing solo shows for fun to experiment with new sounds and new content and to encourage myself to keep creating during seasons of rest for Floorcloud, and then grew to love it.”

Like many musicians, Sampson also works a day job. But it is one that adds to her musical life and artistic expression, rather than taking away from it. As a designer at a corporation, she finds herself amongst fellow creatives who support her, who come to her shows, and listen to her music. She told me: “When I went on vacation last year I got a video of one of my coworkers playing the Floorcloud EP on full blast in the office.”

Music for Lindsey Sampson, it seems, is all about relationships. The relationships between the lines in her songs and with the people who listen to them. Relationships between women in “Naomi” and in her real life. The common ground that builds them all? Music.

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