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The Samples
Black and White
Samples Records

There is something to be said for getting exactly what you expected. And that is what I got on this new Samples record. A collection of twelve solid tracks of familiar music, that breaks a little new ground, but remains very comfortable to my heart.

You see, I've got a very strong connection to the Samples. Their music was the soundtrack to a time in my life that was very, very happy, and very sad all at once. And this music transports me back to that time, all the while reminding me how precious life, and the people that we love, truly are. The songs on Black And White have the ability to remind my heart of this most important of truths, and I'm sure they could do the same for you… If you'll take a few minutes to listen.

Sean Kelly has been the driving force behind the Samples since their inception over a decade ago, when they released their first self-titled album to rave local reviews. The songs were a mixed batch of love songs and songs about the pain that we as people have caused Mother Earth. Songs of truth and hope, exactly what one would expect from a young band from Boulder, Colorado, merging the sounds of reggae with the pop sensibilities of Sting. The subject matter of Kelly's songs has changed little over the years, and the new record is imbued with songs about the mistreating of the earth around us, and environmental awareness. The difference is that after these years, Sean has mellowed out a bit, and the songs are less preachy and more about empathy with the world around us. Not to say there aren't moments of controversy, such as "For Everyone" with its highly political bent on the world around us.

There are the silly songs for this album, "Lollipop", which is a silly song, but holds many secret truths. Sean has had a tendency to write at least one ridiculous song on each of his albums, and of course, "I Wanna Get Drunk" fills the ridiculous space on this record. A rollicking good time of a drinking song, it'll be right at home with you and your pals as last call rolls around at the local pub.

But where the Samples have always outshined their peers is at downbeat songs of sadness mingled with love. This record gives us some of the finest work Kelly has ever written. "Love And Roses" is a deeply heartfelt track that will leave the most hard of listeners aching inside. "Your airplane's on the runway/ So quiet and alone/ I'm watching you from so far away/ As the metal birds take you home/ Your mother called to say she's fine/ She's waiting at the end." The haunting melancholy of it is enough to quiet the world around you, and center your thoughts back onto your life and the importance of love and loved ones. And on "As The Moon Falls Over Ireland" Sean talks about exploring his familial roots, showing how he's changed over the years and allowing a naked glimpse inside his own heart and mind.

Black And White is a journey of discovery. It is a journey of love. It is a nice guidebook for certain paths on this trip called life.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Black And White
2. I Can Feel You
3. Lollipop
4. Warm And Sunny
5. Long Walk Home
6. For Everyone
7. I Wanna Get Drunk
8. Love And Roses
9. Beautiful Girl
10. Falling In Love
11. As The Moon Falls Over Ireland
12. Empty Angels


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