After 20 Years The Samples Call it Quits

photos by Tim Hurley- for the Grateful Web

The rough road of the music industry has taken its toll on yet another talented rock band.  After touring for over 20 years and releasing over 20 albums, The Samples have decided to officially part ways.  Though the group has gone through many lineup changes since forming in Boulder, Colorado in 1987, primary songwriter/singer/guitarist Sean Kelly had continued to perform and release albums under The Samples moniker.

The band gained popularity early on by blending elements of breezy pop, reggae, and jam-rock.  They generated mass appeal as one of the mainstays on the early H.O.R.D.E. festival tours that also included emerging acts like Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, Phish, All Good, and more.  Their well-received albums "No Room" and "Last Drag" saw heavy rotation through college radio stations during the mid-90s, and their live concerts were always full of incredible energy.

Determined to keep the band alive, Kelly carried on the Samples name after original members Jeep MacNichol, Al Laughlin, and Andy Sheldon left the group to pursue other interests.  Though their popularity waned over the last the few years, many die-hard fans still packed venues to hear their favorite tunes.

The following is a message from Sean Kelly's MySpace page describing his love for the band and ultimately his decision to move on:

I want start by saying that I may be able to write songs and play a guitar but my spelling and grammar has never been my best asset. I am usually pretty good however in getting my point across none the less. So if you notice some words out of place go easy on me. I am writing this email on a beautiful spring Vermont night way up on the 45th parallel. Lake Champlain is outside sleeping and I have a few updates regarding The Samples.

The long and winding road for The Samples has ended. Outside of possibly playing a few rumored dates with the original line up next fall, The Samples will be no longer. I have also canceled any and all upcoming Samples dates. I sincerely apologize for the recent cancellations, I have only canceled two shows in 22 years and I always do my best to prevent this anyway possible.

From all the beautiful landscapes across America, to the bus engine roaring under my bed, it's been a long and beautiful ride with endless and difficult ups and downs that I would not trade for anything. I put my heart and soul into every show, and on every record. I hope that it translated. I feel a bit like Forest Gump when he stopped running, turned around and said "I think I am going to go home now". I have been such a driving force in The Samples that I never stopped to notice how I have neglected many aspects of myself and many of the other things that used to really make me happy.

Such a beautiful thing so unprotected, endangered, rare and one of a kind!

I welcome change, perseverance and any ideas to incorporate into my solo career. I am very much exited to pursue many different and new challenges.

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