Interview with Sammy Lee Roller


The formula for most media/broadcasting music platforms is not discovery. The most popular approach is to play a small selection of hits by well-known hit makers. But UTR has always embraced the freedom of being a non-profit platform, which allows song and artist discovery to be a very important pillar of what we do.  A friend we made at Hutchmoot 2018, Wes McGee, introduced us to the music of Arkansas-based songwriter Sammy Lee Roller.  Earlier this month, he released his debut EP Run To Thee, available now on Spotify. We had the chance to chat with Sammy this week and now allow you to discover an artist fulfilling a big dream.

UTR:  Was music a big part of your childhood growing up?

Sammy: When I was around 4 years old, my first musical instrument was a toy drum set. I remember the excitement and joy it immediately brought me. The following year my grandparents bought me a toy trumpet for my birthday. I would imagine my Mom and Dad thought, “Oh boy, another instrument that makes noise”. A few years would pass and I was gifted a toy guitar with plastic strings. This, by far, was my favorite of all. Looking back on all that now, I think God was placing those items in front of me to say, “This is what I have for you to do later”.

UTR:  What artists or authors tend to inspire you as a songwriter?

Sammy:  I’m really inspired with artists such as Andrew Peterson, Jess Ray, Taylor Leonhardt and The Arcadian Wild. These are just a few of the people or bands that speak to me in a very original and heartfelt way. They have such imagery in their compositions and amazing instrumental techniques. There is so much truth and honesty in the way they express their music.


UTR: How would you describe your overall theme of your new EP, Run to Thee?

Sammy: I think I have two themes intertwined with each other. “Perseverance” and “Trusting in Jesus”. When you’re listening to the CD, it’s telling a story. It was not my intention to place these songs in order to accomplish this. I wrote a couple of these songs about seven years ago.
UTR:  What do you hope listeners of the new EP experience or walk away with?
Sammy: Overall, I want them to know that God hasn’t given up on them and He never will. Each of us have our own struggles or storms that we’re going through. I hope this album is a great encouragement and inspires them to keep reaching for the hand of Jesus.
UTR:  Can you tell us more about your family and the church you serve at in Arkansas?
Sammy: In 2009, Natalie and I were baptized and confirmed into the Catholic church in Bella Vista. I’ve been the Praise Team Leader at St. Bernard’s since September of 2015 when we introduced contemporary music to the Saturday evening Mass. This August, Natalie and I will be married for seventeen years. We have two rat-terrier mix dogs, that will be three years old this year, named Abbey and Willa. We also have one grumpy and very vocal cat named Tux.
UTR:  In recent years, we have sensed an incredible movement of worship being born from the Catholic church. Is this something you have sensed also?
Sammy: I’m really inspired by Matt Maher and what he is accomplishing as a Catholic. He’s written several great songs that we play at Mass. I’ve kind of stayed in my own little bubble and not had the opportunity to visit or experience other Catholic churches often. One of my goals, when I became a praise team leader, was to enhance the Mass in such a way that leads people closer to the presence of God. Our church is very traditional and introducing a different style of music at Mass was an adjustment. I knew God was leading me to introduce something new. I felt like Peter, getting ready to walk out on the water, to meet Jesus. It’s been a blessing to me for the past five years and I’ve noticed a movement of worship within myself because of it.
UTR:  What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests outside of music?
Sammy: Anything outdoors. In the past, my wife and I loved fishing. We haven’t been in forever and would love to get back into it again. (Even though she would whoop me every time) I kept threating to enter her into tournaments. I love to read. I’m not an avid reader, but I would like to be. It’s something that I have to make more time for. The dogs and I love to go on walks and hikes. When the weather is nice I’ll fly my drone to take pictures and videos.

Sammy Lee Roller lives in Rogers, AR with his wife Natalie, cat, and two dogs.  More info on his music ministry can be found at

One Comment

  1. Kathy Bolls February 7, 2020 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    So proud of you

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