First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
50 School Street
Les Sampou is a blues/rock musician, who got her start in the Boston folk scene and now has moved on to national prominence and acclaim. When she released her last record "Lonesomeville" it expanded the range of her critically-acclaimed four previous efforts.
Sampou, who lives in the South Shore outside Boston, began playing in the streets in what she terms as “relatively late in life.” At twenty five, when all her friends were getting married, buying houses and planning for kids, Sampou started hitting the pavement to Harvard Square, the tunnels of the MBTA, as well as anywhere she could open her case for coins and applause. It was there she found her voice and polished her guitar playing and wrote the first of her prolific collection of songs.
After cutting her teeth in the streets, Les began playing area clubs, doing the 9 pm - 1 am shifts for little or no cash that can be summed up as “paying her dues.” After a couple years of the club scene, Sampou found the coffeehouse folk scene. She describes this period by saying, “Being in front of a listening audience scared me to death. My hands would shake and my voice would seize up. But I loved it and was hooked.”
She worked her stage fright and didn’t stop writing. Her first album “Sweet Perfume” caught the attention of legendary DJ Dick Pleasants and it soon was on the doorstep of Rounder Records, where she was immediately signed. Rounder released “Fall From Grace” and it hit the top of the charts of Gavin Americana Radio in 1997. Radio industry news FMBQ reviewed her album saying, "New England singer-songwriter Sampou has a distinctive folk and blues style that has made her a favorite at folk festivals from Philadelphia to Kerrville. An American storyteller, Sampou is joined by guitarist Duke Levine and harmonica wiz Jerry Portnoy on ‘Fall from Grace’. Produced by Mason Daring, ‘Holy Land,’ ‘The Things I Should've Said,’ ‘Home Again,’ and ‘Alibis’ are great places to begin your introduction to this exemplary artist."
But, it wasn’t until now with her 2010 self-released ‘Lonesomeville,’ that Sampou feels like she “did it right this time.” Pairing up with recording engineer Chris Rival, Sampou and her all star band of Boston’s cream of the crop session players recorded Lonesomeville live in two days. Ducky Carlisle, mix engineer, added his acclaimed rock edge to the Americana set of blues and soul-tinged country tunes. Lyrically, Lonesomeville sums up what Sampou writes about best—love gone wrong, hard goodbyes, and honky tonk heartbreak. Roberta B. Swartz of The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange writes, “There is plenty of loving--hard loving and soft loving--in all kinds of places and spaces—on a train, in bed, on the road, and on the sly. ‘Lonesomeville’ takes us through lonely hotel rooms, honky tonk highways and the bedrooms of hard-living lovers. The lucky listener gladly goes along, following Sampou on this journey, getting lost in the sexy sway of her voice.”
But Lonesomeville is best listened to, not read about. As freelance music writer Ken Capobianco wrote in The Cape Cod Times after travelling the LA coast with Lonesomeville in his CD player, “If you see that lonesome highway, one of the quickest ways to stem the melancholy is to pop this in the CD player, turn it up and forget to look back.”
“I’ve reconciled the fact that I’ll never live a simple life,” she says plainly, “and that’s alright with me. This is the life I chose for myself.” For Annalise Emerick, it isn’t just a brush-off. The self-starting, twenty-something, singer-songwriter has been on the road virtually non-stop for three years solid. This summer alone, she plays to sold-out crowds at over 150 shows in 90 different cities with the aid of nothing but a guitar. Choosing to leave behind any semblance of a normal life for the day-to-day of a traveling independent musician, however, was always a no-brainer for the Nashville spitfire. “It’s all about building on something and getting out there in front of people,” she explains. “If you’re going to do it, then you have to really go for it.” And that’s precisely what she’s done.
Gathering material from her life experiences and seemingly infinite travels, Emerick conceived the aptly named Field Notes, her debut, full-length album and subsequent road diary. Recorded with her heart on her sleeve and a collection of autobiographical tunes in her pocket, the album exhibits the raw vocals and heartfelt lyricism that have situated her among fans of Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, and Natalie Maines alike. For Field Notes, it’s Emerick’s effortless aptitude to blend pop songwriting sensibilities with pristine Americana overtones that really shines through, highlighting her incredible penchant for spinning tales both uniquely personal and universally recognizable.
“This album really means a lot to me,” she shares. “In a way, it’s a compilation of all the exploring I’ve done over the past few years… songs from being out in the world and experiencing life. These are songs about love, dreams, childhood friends, and stories I’ve picked up from traveling. The whole time I’ve been compiling material for this record, I’ve imagined an explorer out in the wild with a notebook just jotting down ideas, theories, and drawings. And that’s exactly what this album is. These are my thoughts. These are my field notes.”
The 2014/2015 Season --
Tickets $13.00 unless otherwise noted.
|Oct 4 ||
|Nov 1 |
|Dec 6 ||
|Jan 3 ||
|Feb 7 ||Greg Greenway
|Mar 7 ||
Les Sampou (tickets $15.00)
|Apr 4 ||Girls Guns and Glory (tickets $15.00)
|May 2 ||The Rafters and Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli (Split bill)