Samuel Paul Kershaw (1958-) is a Country Music singer from Kaplan, Louisiana.
A cousin of Cajun singers Rusty and Doug Kershaw, he began performing music in his teens, which eventually spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse from the stress of touring. To recover from this, he took a job as a remodeling supervisor for Walmart.
He then recorded demo tapes which were submitted to Mercury Records. This led to his debut album Don't Go Near the Water in 1991. He continued to record for Mercury until the end of The '90s, scoring a myriad of radio hits including the #1 "She Don't Know She's Beautiful".
He then did one album each for RCA Records and the defunct Koch and Category 5 labels before moving to independent releases. In addition, he ran for lieutenant governor of Louisiana in both 2007 and 2010, but placed second both times. From 2001 to 2007, he was married to fellow country singer Lorrie Morgan.
Kershaw is defined by his neo-traditional honky-tonk influences and his reedy Cajun-tinged voice.
- Don't Go Near the Water (1991)
- Haunted Heart (1993)
- Feelin' Good Train (1994)
- Christmas Time's A-Comin' (1994)
- Politics, Religion, and Her (1996)
- The Hits Chapter 1 (1995)
- Labor of Love (1997)
- Maybe Not Tonight (1999)
- Covers the Hits (2000)
- I Finally Found Someone (with Lorrie Morgan) (2001)
- The Hits Chapter 2 (2001)
- I Want My Money Back (2003)
- Honky Tonk Boots (2006)
- Better Than I Used to Be (2010)
- A Sammy Klaus Christmas (2012)
- All in the Same Boat (with Joe Diffie and Aaron Tippin) (2013)
- Do You Know Me: A Tribute to George Jones (2014)
- I Won't Back Down (2015)
- The Blues Got Me (2016)
Tropes present in his work:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The title subjects of "Politics, Religion, and Her" are three things that the narrator refuses to talk about ("her" being an ex-lover, obviously).
- Cover Version: Covers the Hits is composed entirely of cover songs. "Third Rate Romance" (Amazing Rhythm Aces), "More Than I Can Say" (Leo Sayer), "Chevy Van" (Sammy Johns), and "Memphis, Tennessee" (Chuck Berry) were all culled from existing albums, with "Romance" having been a #2 hit for him in 1994; five other tracks from various tribute albums to which Kershaw contributed; and "A Little Bit More" (Dr. Hook) was an outtake from the Labor of Love recording sessions.
- Dual-Meaning Chorus: Occurs in "Me and Maxine". The title lyric "There's something between me and Maxine" refers to forces that keep them apart on the first two verses, but the third time around it refers to the chemistry they have now that they're together.
- Embarrassing Tattoo: The narrator of "Your Tattoo" gets a naked tattoo of his lover, with whom he later breaks up. Said tattoo doesn't go over well with his new girl, leading the narrator to ask what he's going to do about it.
- Garage Sale: "Yard Sale" is about a divorced couple who is selling their belongings at a yard sale and observing the memories associated with each object bought.
- It Will Never Catch On:
- Kershaw was told by Mercury executives that "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" would never succeed as a hit because they felt that no one would identify with a man stealing his woman back from another man. Not only did it become his most famous song, it also spawned a Sequel Song in the form of The Chicks' "Goodbye Earl".
- Likewise, label execs were unsure if enough listeners would be familiar with the Vidalia onion for the pun in "Vidalia" to work. The song ended up being a hit.
- Like You Were Dying: The narrator of "One Day Left to Live" decides to live in this fashion after narrowly avoiding a fatal accident.
- Mood Whiplash: "Matches" starts with a girl leaving her number on a matchbook after they meet at a bar. They date for a while and then break up, leaving the man distraught at the bar. It sounds like a typical country song... until the narrator decides to burn down said bar with the matches.
- Obliviously Beautiful: The title character in "She Don't Know She's Beautiful", who doesn't seem to understand that her beauty is what's causing every man to pay attention to her."We go out to a party somewhere, the moment she walks in the door
People stop and everybody stares, she don't know what they're staring for
'Cause she don't know she's beautiful, never crossed her mind
She don't know she's beautiful, no, she's not that kind
She don't know she's beautiful, though time and time I've told her so."
- Rearrange the Song: "Love of My Life" had an alternate version with fellow Mercury artist Terri Clark singing half of each verse.
- Re-release the Song: "Evangeline", a cut from Honky Tonk Boots (and a cover of Chad Brock to boot), was released as a single in 2021.
- Spelling Song: "Tennessee Girl" has the line "I love that T-E-double N-E-double S-double E G-I-R-L".
- Uncommon Time: Parts of "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" are in 11/4.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The title woman in "Vidalia" gets her name as a portmanteau of her parents, Violet and Dale. Vidalia is also a type of onion, leading the narrator to question the name before observing that just like the onion, she has a tendency to make him cry.