Les Sampou and the Les Sampou Band (#315)

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

Playing traditional folk and blues as well as 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 triple-threat 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—Sweet Perfume (1993) and Fall From Grace (1996)—already under her belt, Sampou exhibited a greater rock sensibility in a 1999 self-titled release. She then revisited her roots and performed 16 country blues songs on her 2001 release, Borrowed & 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.”