Sean Kelly moved from Vermont to Boulder in 1987 and started the Samples, quickly becoming a fixture on local club stages and building a grassroots network of fans across the country. Known for his striking voice and original songs that mixed rock, reggae and folk, the Samples put Colorado on the musical map as a popular and talented touring band. The group was also busy in the studio over the decades, recording more than 15 albums ranging from major-label experiences to their own independent releases. Kelly has fronted different iterations of the Samples over the decades; when not touring with the latest lineup, he plays his songs acoustically.
Sean talks with G. Brown about his Vermont roots (0:56), moving to Boulder at age 21 (3:20), starting the Samples and naming the band for its method of survival (5:50), building a grassroots network of fans (10:15), recording a debut album (11:34), touring incessantly (14:27), aligning with the independent W.A.R.? Records (16:45), performing on The Tonight Show (18:15), supporting the Colorado music scene (19:33), a final recording attempt on a major label (21:56), making the best bad album they could (25:10), introducing a new lineup (27:31), a brief stay in Connecticut (29:08) and an unexpected appearance on a movie soundtrack (30:33).