So you know where I’m coming from…
Sam started playing back in in the early ’70s on a kit that belonged to his brother. Back in those days, playing the drums was his form of “anger management” – but out of that came discipline, creativity and obviously some musical talent!!
In the early 70’s, Sam joined his very first band, “CYMANDE”. Although not well known in the UK, Cymande worked in the USA, successfully touring to promote 3 albums which were released on the Janus label, a subsidiary of Chess records (part of the 2nd album was recorded at Chess studios, Chicago). Cymande’s music has retained a cult following over the years and even today the name is still well known by the new generation of successful garage, hip-hop and rap artists who have sampled several of the original tracks.
Nearly 40 years on, Sam is still working on Cymande projects. In 2013, core members (Patrick, Steve, Sam, Mike, Pablo and Derrick) reunited to reignite the Cymande “flame”. The band, together with their original producer, John Schroeder, have recorded an eagerly-awaited album of new material which was released on 27th November 2015 entitled “A Simple Act of Faith”. This will delight their fans worldwide. Cymande have performed at The Barbican, Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Camp Bestival, Bestival and The Forum, London as part of Craig Charles Funk & Soul Christmas Party. Cymande returned to the States in June 2016 for a two-week high profile sell-out tour including shows at SummerStage, New York Central Park and Bonnaroo Festival in Nashville. Cymande were also interviewed on KCRW Radio:
In 2007, Sam was involved in BBC3’s Soul Britannia season at the Barbican. He took on the role of Musical Director, leading his own band, Sam Kelly’s Station House, as the rhythm section for the Soul Britannia Allstars Review. This Review included Madeline Bell, Linda Lewis, Hamish Stewart, Carol Grimes and the Cymande All Stars featuring Jimmy Lindsay.
Providing a rhythm section for respected, established musicians is where Sam Kelly’s Station House show their musical ability and professional commitment. Here is their performance over two nights at Paul Jones’ Charity Christmas Show at Cranleigh Arts Centre:
And again with Chicago Beau at Burghausen Jazz Festival in Germany
Sam is currently drumming with Cymande, Together As One, Papa George Band, Chuck Farley, Geoff Achison and the UK Souldiggers, Giles Hedley and the Aviators, Serious Blues and Connie Lush. Early in 2008, Sam went into the studio to record the rhythm tracks for the late great, Gary Moore’s last R&B album, ‘Bad For you Baby’. He also joined Gary’s band for a 10-date tour in Germany.
Over the years Sam has worked with Chaka Khan, Dr John, Ben E. King, Robert Plant, The Foundations, Gordon Haskell, Billy Ocean, Desmond Dekker, Eddie Floyd, Roger Chapman, Michelle Shocked, Stan Webb, Gary Moore and Ottis Taylor………… to name but a few. Recently, with Mick Ralphs, Paul Jones, Imelda May, Robben Ford, Andy Fairweather Low and Chris Barber.
Sam also runs his own bands – roots/reggae band “FOWOKAN”, the bluesy Sam Kelly’s Band and the funky Sam Kelly’s Station House:
Sam’s long career covers live gigs, festivals, drum workshops, theatre work, radio and TV sessions, both in the UK and overseas. He has been voted into Blues In Britain magazine Gallery of the Greats, as a five-times winner of the ‘UK Drummer of the Year’ award. In 2014 Sam was awarded first place in the “Drummer” category for Blues Matters Writer’s Poll and runner-up in the British Blues Awards 2016. Combining his years of experience and his reputation within the UK blues fraternity, Sam is a highly accessible, sought after drummer.