If you like your ‘folk’ edgy, turning traditional songs on their head, swerving into rock territory or nudging the mainstream, Sam Kelly’s your man.
At just 24, the ‘pushing the envelope’ singer songwriter has had no trouble setting the roots world alight. Just three years after releasing his first EP, Norfolk-born, Bristol-based Kelly scooped the coveted 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards “Horizon” title, which recognises the best emerging talent.
His debut CD The Lost Boys was released in 2015 to wide acclaim. For this compelling Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys follow-up album Pretty Peggy, released October 6, 2017, he is joined in the seven strong line-up by his regular touring and festival band – banjo genius Jamie Francis; Ciaran Algar on fiddle/tenor guitar; Evan Carson on percussion, Graham Coe (cello), Toby Shaer (woodwind) and Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon.
Kelly, who says he owes much of his musical inspiration to his late Irish grandfather, is known as a former Britain’s Got Talent finalist (“a massive whirlwind experience”) when he was just 19. It’s part of his colourful story but that story has moved on in leaps and bounds, making him one of the most exciting young performers on the circuit.
Playing guitars, bouzouki and mandolin he undoubtedly has instrumental prowess but it’s the effortless soft-edged, stand-out voice that has fast tracked him to the top tier of the scene whether in his trio with Francis and Carson, in Cornish band The Changing Room band or spearheading his own Lost Boys.
Trawling old songs and tunes for this innovative melting pot album, Kelly has found some gems to refashion kicking off with the rousing whaling shanty Greenland Whale which is matched at the other end of the 12-track album by a driving, full-blooded take on the trad English song The Keeper. It’s not hard to pick Kelly’s own Chasing Shadows (a message to anyone going through tough times) as a stand-out song on the album with its beautifully soaring instrumentation and a definite nod to mainstream.
Pretty Peggy is released on the Navigator label and distributed by Proper Music. (Pre-order from Amazon, iTunes & Proper Music http://smarturl.it/8j4qah). It will be showcased on a UK tour in November/December 2017.
SAM KELLY & THE LOST BOYS TOUR DATES
27/11 KINGSKERSWELL Parish Church,Devon 01803 875527 www.worldunlimited.co.uk/
28/11 NORWICH Arts Centre 01603 660352 http://norwichartscentre.co.uk/
29/11 LONDON Cecil Sharp House 020 7485 2206 https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/
30/11 NEW MILTON Forest Arts Centre 01425 619983 https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/forest-arts-centre
1/12 STAMFORD Arts Centre, Lincs 01780 763203 https://www.stamfordartscentre.com/
2/12 KINGS SOMBORNE Village Hall, Hants http://www.sombornesessions.co.uk
6/12 BIDDULPH Up in Arms 01782 523277 http://www.biddulphupinarms.com
7/12 SHEFFIELD The Greystones http://www.mygreystones.co.uk/