Best Comeback Album

Westword just named “America” the ‘Best Comeback Album’ of 2015. Sean Kelly and The Samples worked very hard on this album and we are honored to be recognized by Westword! Read more HERE.

The Samples Reunion

The Samples will be playing a 25th Anniversary reunion show at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO on Friday, 12/12/2014 to celebrate the release of the “Blue Album” in 1989 with all original members! We will be playing the Blue Album in its entirety plus songs from other albums as well. This will be a great show!

Buy your tickets HERE.

More details on the show can be found on our event page HERE.

Sean Kelly Interview on Denver.com

Read the recent interview of Sean Kelly on denver.com!

Sean Kelly has been a part of the Colorado music scene for more than 25 years, starting in Boulder before making a home in Denver.

As the front man for the Samples, Kelly’s unique vocal style, helped catapult the band and grow its fan base outside of Colorado with a reggae-inflected pop sound. The Samples, a name derived from when the band members supplemented their nutritional needs by eating free food samples at local supermarkets, have a new CD out titled America.

 What was the first song that got the band noticed?

Well, it was a combination of songs from our first album. Songs like “Waited Up” and “Nature.”  Ironically, that album could be released today and it would be completely relevant.

 How would you describe the sound of the Samples?

That’s difficult. The new album, America, includes blues, reggae, country and other styles. It’s not so much about a sound, it’s more of a concept. I was watching a Saturday Night Live documentary on TV the other day and it made me think that the Samples is kind of like SNL. There have been good and bad years and changing casts.

I’ve been the person guiding it, but the sound reflects a whole package of time and people. The new sound is a little different. Every tune is strong on its own. Each song it true to the genre that it covers. It’s touches on different genres including blues, rock and reggae. It’s been getting good reviews from the people who are buying it.

 Where are you from originally and how did you get to Colorado?

I was born in Connecticut, but I grew up in Vermont. I moved to Colorado in 1987. At that time I had been dealing with brutal winters in Vermont. You don’t get the sun there and out here it was so mild in comparison. That did it for me.

 What brought you to Denver?

It was circumstantial. I was living in San Diego and my relationship had come to an end. I didn’t know where to go. My manager lives here and he said why don’t you move near me. So I’ve been living in Highlands Ranch, but I recently got engaged and we are planning on moving a little closer to Denver proper.

What has been one of your favorite gigs in the Denver area?

There is no end to them, but I played a gig on the Fourth of July a few years ago at Invesco Field (now Sports Authority Field at Mile High). Because of the fire danger that year, lots of local communities had to cancel their usual fireworks display, so the city put on a big display at the stadium.

I got a last-minute invite and It was just myself on an acoustic guitar in a chair. It was a lot of fun. There was a girl who sang the national anthem and then I opened up the event by playing a few songs, including “Wild River,” a song about Colorado. A lot of those people had probably never seen me before, but it was a blast.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver?

I go to Lodo’s Bar and Grill a lot. It’s near where I live. I could recite the menu to you. I’m hoping to learn more about the Denver restaurant scene when we move closer to town.

 What’s your favorite small club to play in Denver?

I like Herman’s Hideaway and the Walnut Room, but I’d probably choose Herman’s as my favorite. We’ve played some great shows there.

What’s your favorite venue overall in the Denver area?

Red Rocks! The history of it is incredible. Check out the museum there. The place hasn’t changed that much from before it was a performance venue and it comes with this amazing geological history. There’s a feeling that you can’t get anywhere. They have been very good about working around the natural setting.

My memories of all the shows I’ve seen there are amazing. I remember sneaking into the venue in someone’s trunk to see the Grateful Dead in the 80s. I heard them play “Terrapin Station” from on top of the hill behind the venue.

 Who are some of your favorite local artists?

I don’t know as many as I should, but I like Highway 50, which is a band that my friend James Hambleton is in. The band also happens to be led by my buddy Al Laughlin, who was the original keyboardist for the Samples. James Hambleton, and his brother Charles (an original member of the Samples) were the reason I moved to Boulder. I also like the band Shel from Fort Collins. They contributed a little on our new album. I think they’re going to be big.

What do you think about the legalization of marijuana here in Colorado?

I think it’s fantastic. I’ve seen the bad end of alcohol for too long now. To think that alcohol has been legal for so long and pot hasn’t been is crazy. I’m not an anti-alcohol person or anything. I still like to have a drink now and then, but to me pot is a better option. It nurtures creativity.

http://www.denver.com/articles/sean-kelly-samples-talks-colorado-groups-latest-release-america.html

Relix Magazine Review of “America”

Check out the review of “America” in the June issue of Relix Magazine!

With all the group’s original members now gone, except for lead singer and songwriter Sean Kelly, it might be tempting to relegate The Samples to the archives of jam-pop history. Fortunately, for longtime fans and new listeners, the latest version of the band retains the magic that first drew ears to their sound. On America, Kelly and present company deliver a 14-track jewel of a disc that includes a skilled nod to Neil Young (on the lead track, “Fukishima”) and pleasing vocal harmonies with special guest Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco), who appears on the songs “And I Dreamed,” “Mysterious Times” and “Boulder.” Kelly and the Samples extend their recent renaissance (following the inclusion of the song “Could It Be Another Change” on the soundtrack to the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower) with this organically uplifting release.

Nick Hutchinson

Jambands.com Interview with Sean Kelly

Read this interview of Sean Kelly from Jambands.com

Jambands.com
2/14/2014
by Nick Hutchison

Originally from New England, Sean Kelly has been the frontman forthe Samples since the band first gained attention in the late 1980s in Boulder, Colorado. The Samples, a name derived from when the band members would take care of their nutritional needs by eating the free food offerings handed out at local supermarkets, have a new CD out titled America. Kelly talks about what it’s like to still be steering the Samples bus and how his drive to keep the music going is as strong as ever.

How would you describe the sound of the Samples these days?

That’s difficult. Our new album, America, includes blues, reggae, country and other styles. It’s not so much about a sound. It’s more of a concept. I was watching a Saturday Night Live documentary on TV the other day and it made me think that the Samples is kind of like SNL. There have been good and bad years and changing casts. I’ve been the person guiding it, but the sound reflects a whole package of time and people. The new sound is a little different. Every tune is strong on its own. Each song it true to the genre that it covers. It touches on different genres including blues, rock and reggae. It’s been getting good reviews from the people who are buying it.

You’re from Vermont, how did you end up in Colorado?

I was born in Connecticut, but I grew up in Vermont. I moved to Colorado in 1987. At that time I had been dealing with brutal winters in Vermont. You don’t get the sun there and out here it was so mild in comparison. That did it for me.

What’s your favorite venue in the Denver area?

That would have to be Red Rocks. The history of it is incredible. Check out the museum there. The place hasn’t changed that much from before it was a performance venue. It comes with this amazing geological history. There’s a feeling that you can’t get anywhere. They have been very good about working around the natural setting. My memories of all the shows I’ve seen there are amazing. I remember sneaking into the venue in someone’s trunk to see the Grateful Dead in the ’80s. I heard them play “Terrapin Station” from on top of the hill behind the venue.

Who are some of your favorite artists these days?

I don’t know as many as I should, but I like Highway 50, which is a band that my friend James Hambleton is in and which is led by Al Laughlin, who was the original keyboardist of the Samples. James and his brother Charles (original member of the Samples) were the reason I moved to Colorado.

When is the last time you got together with the original members of the Samples and are those reunions fun?

It was about four years ago for the Mile High Music Festival in Denver (at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park). It was cool enough to see everyone, but I really wanted to play with the guys who I had been playing with more recently. The promoters were adamant that it had to be the original members, so that’s what we did. For all of us it was kind of like having to hang around with an old girlfriend for a few days. It was kind of awkward. We did it, but it wasn’t necessarily fun. It was a toxic blend back then and it’s still toxic.

What do you think about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado?

I think it’s fantastic. I’ve seen the bad end of alcohol for too long now. To think that alcohol has been legal for so long is crazy. I’m not an anti-alcohol person. I still like to have a drink now and then, but to me pot is a better option. Whereas drinking can lead to Jekyll and Hyde behavior. For me pot opens up creativity and nurtures the more childlike side of my personality.

Where does the reggae and ska influence that can be heard in your music come from?

Interestingly, it’s not from me. I did play some reggae oriented stuff in a few bands I was in leading up to the Samples. I used to cover some Bob Marley and Burning Spear songs when I was playing in Vermont. But the reggae influence amplified when we brought on our drummer Jeep and also from our original keyboardist Al Laughlin.

http://www.jambands.com/features/2014/02/14/sean-kelly-on-the-samples-america#.UwZHLv2whFS

The Samples for Free

I have collected well over 300 unreleased Sean Kelly/Samples recordings that I am giving out for free.

Just send me your email address to thesamplesusa@aol.com and put “unreleased music” in the subject line. I will email you the songs as MP3s. I will send you only a small batch each day until you can catch up. If you want more songs than 10 a day, just let me know. I think you will enjoy them. Also you can go to this site below and listen to all the songs without having them sent to you. Pick out the songs you like and I will email them to you. http://netlivemusic.com/component/muscol/S/93-sean-kelly-the-samples-

Cheers,
Sean

Could It Be Another Change

The Samples classic “Could It Be Another Change” is featured in the movie soundtrack of the new release “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.” The movie is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller,”The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.” is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope – and the unforgettable friends that help us through life.

Song from the movie – “Could It Be Another Change”