Sam Lee plays a unique role in the British music scene. A highly inventive and original singer, folk song interpreter, a passionate conservationist, committed song collector and a successful creator of live events. Sam has broken the boundaries between folk and contemporary music. He’s injected a renewed passion into old material, by interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today.
Sam Lee always surprises. When he released his first album ‘Ground Of Its Own’ in 2012, he re-worked old songs by matching his direct and rich singing style against an extraordinary backdrop of sound, making use of anything from Jews harps, trumpets, fiddles, banjo or the drone effects of an Indian Shruti box.
Sam performed at the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall winning Best Traditional Track and subsequently performed on BBC TV’s ‘Later with Jools’, NPR’s Tiny Desk sessions and in 2018 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms where Sam hosted a Folk Prom alongside Julie Fowlis. But possibly the largest audience Sam found himself being heard by was when Guy Ritchie chose him to write the lead song for his epic Hollywood fantasy King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from which ‘The Devil and The Huntsman’ was born receiving tens of millions of plays internationally.
And now comes ‘Old Wow’, yet another dramatic change of musical direction where, for the first time, Sam includes the instrument most notably absent from his recording career, the guitar and electric guitar at that, played by the album’s producer Bernard Butler (of Suede and McAlmont & Butler fame).
Guest vocals are also contributed to the album by Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, plus splendid harmonies from Cosmo Sheldrake and spoken word poet Dizraeli. It’s a thoughtful, soaring and moving set of songs, dominated by Sam’s soulful and sensitive vocals and no cliché in saying it’s his most assured recording to date. This is no coincidence being an album devoted to his love and passion for the natural world; a commitment that has dominated Sam’s heart.
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