Les Sampou and the Les Sampou Band (#621)

A Massachusetts native serves up simmering, soulful blues and folksy rock.

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From her traditional folk and blues to modern rock, Massachusetts native Les Sampou is earning a reputation as one of America’s preeminent female musicians. Across the country, music critics have lauded her three-pronged talent as an innovative guitarist, singer, and songwriter, comparing her favorably to some of the industry’s biggest stars.

The Boston Phoenix raved, “When [Sampou] really lets loose, she hits the spot Melissa Etheridge must dream about,” while the Berkshire Eagle insisted, “The only thing that Sampou lacks that Bonnie Raitt has is producer Don Was.”

With two traditional folk/blues albums previously under her belt (Sweet Perfume from 1993 and Fall from Grace from 1996), Sampou exhibited a greater rock sensibility in her self-titled 1999 release, Les Sampou. Then she revisited her roots and performed 16 country blues songs with 2001’s Borrowed and Blue.

Sampou’s Jubilee performance, taped at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset, KY, spotlights her exemplary guitar playing and songwriting abilities, as well as her show-stopping voice—which the Boston Globe described as “capable of ripping off rafter-raising blues tunes and then turning even grand concert halls into house concerts with her intimate balladry.”