Given the fact that the guys in the Samples, a veteran jam band out of Boulder, came up with their band name because members used to live off food samples from the local grocery store, it’s appropriate they would play at the Fabulous Food Show
. The group is slated perform at the event’s Concert in the Kitchen at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Fabulous Food Show takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the I-X Center.
“We have done shows on the morning when there are cooking things but never played a show specifically as part of a thing like this,” says singer-guitarist Sean Kelly.
The band’s roots go way back. Kelly and original guitarist Charles Hambleton met at an open mic in 1985 in Burlington and formed the Samples after moving to Boulder.
“It’s very true that the band name refers to food samples,” says Kelly. “When we first moved to Boulder, we didn’t have any money. But we still had to eat. We used to go to the King’s Sooper’s and go to the samples section. That was the initial beginnings before we discovered happy hours and things like that.”
Through the years, the band’s lineup has changed countless times. And it’s been on numerous record labels during the course of that time.
“I don’t keep count anymore,” says Kelly. “It’s been interesting. You come out of it pretty bitter sometimes and sometimes happy. It’s up and down. It’s such a quirky business. Everybody wants to be a musician, and everybody plays in a band. It’s hard to get on the menu sometimes. If you’re not catering to mainstream and Nicki Minaj and that whole scene of weirdness, you just float along and maintain. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve never changed the sound once. We’ve been on three major labels and not one has done anything to even brag about.”
With last year’s America
, the band explores a range of musical territory, delving into folk, rock and country. Kelly, who self-produced the album, says he purposefully took an eclectic approach.
“It’s gotten really good reviews,” he says of the album. “It’s definitely some heavy topics with songs such as ‘Wall Street Blues.’ There’s a level of consciousness to it. You won’t get that with anything mainstream. The goal of the album was to make it so diverse that each time you hear a song you can contrast with the next one. There will be a rocker tune and then a reggae tune and then a country song with violin and pedal steel. We play a variety of styles live too and that salvages my interest in music. It keeps it exciting after this long. You don’t hit a point where you’re set and that’s it. I’m always trying to make things better even though there’s little reward. You have to do what your gut says even though it’s led me down a dark road sometimes.”