The Samples

Few bands bridge the divide between instrumental proficiency and sharply crafted songwriting as deftly as the Samples. Long before the term "jam band" was coined -- way back in the mid-'80s, in fact -- this Colorado combo was funneling its freewheeling melodies into odes etched with inspiration. They are reflective, evocative songs detailing love, loss and nature's beauty. Helmed from the beginning by singer-songwriter Sean Kelly, the Samples exude a sort of stoner spirituality, grafting thoughtful, mesmerizing music to reggae-infused rhythms that carry the mood to either extreme. One moment they're a frat band pumping up the party; the next they're settling into a slower groove suited for quiet contemplation. Despite their fanatical following, they generally eschew the major festivals that attract like-minded contemporaries, and that makes a Samples soiree reason for celebration, especially for those who place equal importance on tunes and technique.
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Lee Zimmerman