DILLON – As a starving artist, guitarist Sean Kelly’s plight inspired him – he named his band after food samples he scarfed from King Soopers and the Hare Krishnas in Boulder.In celebration of free samples, the town of Dillon allows people to scarf down some free music from the Samples at 7 p.m. today at the Dillon Amphitheatre.The Samples started in 1986, and after a slow start, it became a popular touring band out of Boulder, playing post-folk-rock reggae in the tradition of The Police and Neil Young. Its relaxed, jazz-pop sound and hypnotic grooves have resulted in millions of record sales and sold-out shows nationwide.It signed with MCA records in 1996 to release “Outpost” and stayed with the label until about five years ago, when it was bought out.
The musicians began releasing their records independently and building support through a grassroots network of fans, but they ran out of money to tour. In January, 2003, Kelly sent an e-mail to his fans asking them to contribute money, ideas and support to help the band continue. He offered lifetime passes to Samples shows and within six months sold more than 500, which gave the band enough money to tour and continue working on its next album.Since then, the band has changed its lineup, leaving Kelly as the only remaining original member.”Sean likes to keep the music fresh, so he doesn’t mind if people come and go because it gives him the opportunity to reinterpret some of his songs,” said keyboardist Karl Dietel. “The band’s on kind of an upswing. We’re feeling a resurgence of connection with the fans.”
The Samples release of “Live From Colorado,” recorded two years ago at Red Rocks Amphitheater and The Fox Theater in Boulder, adds to audiences’ excitement.This year’s release of “Black and White” also enlarged the fan base. Rhythms and patterns intimately recognizable as the Samples characterize the disc, though the musicians reworked some of the time changes and added various beats over the tunes.”There (are) great melodies going on in a lot of (the 12 tracks),” Kelly said. “My favorite songs are minimal – ‘Rocking in the Free World,’ ‘Let It Be,’ ‘Comfortably Numb.’ Those songs face the world, but they do it with just a few instruments. I can’t explain why, but that’s really all you need.”Known best for its live shows, the Samples have started selling recordings of each night’s show.
“Our live shows are always different,” Dietel said. “We’ve been experimenting a little with instrumentation and dynamics. We try to be true to what we all believe in – making honest music that is melodically exciting.””We put a lot into our shows,” Kelly said. “It’s a full multimedia experience, with movies going on behind us, ranging from nature programs like the Discovery Channel to artistic photographs. It’s very active. There are a lot of strengths coming from all directions.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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