Les Sampou and Geoff Bartley in Newton June 1
Singer/songwriters and guitarists Les Sampou and Geoff Bartley share roots in the blues. They will bring their stories and songs to the Luckart Gallery in Auburndale for a double bill on Saturday, June 1 at 8 PM.
This is the fifth concert in a series presented by veteran blues musicians Paul Rishell & Annie Raines in collaboration with neighboring Bocca Bella Café and Bistro. A light fare menu and full bar service will be available during the concert. A full dinner menu is available next door at the restaurant. (Dinner reservations are strongly suggested as restaurant seating is limited).
The Luckart Gallery and Bocca Bella are located at 438 Lexington Street in Auburndale center. There is abundant parking in the lot across the street. Wheelchair access is unfortunately limited. Admission is $23 / $18 students and seniors. For more information, visit us at www.paulandannie.com for directions, performer links, and advance tickets. For dinner reservations call (617) 928-1200.
Les Sampou got her start in the Boston folk scene. At twenty five, when all her friends were getting married, buying houses and planning for kids, Sampou started hitting the pavement to Harvard Square, the tunnels of the MBTA, as well as anywhere she could open her case for coins and applause. It was there she found her voice and polished her guitar playing and wrote the first of her prolific collection of songs.After a couple years of the club scene, Sampou found the coffeehouse folk scene. She describes this period by saying, "Being in front of a listening audience scared me to death. My hands would shake and my voice would seize up. But I loved it and was hooked."
She worked her stage fright and didnt stop writing. Her first album Sweet Perfume caught the attention of legendary DJ Dick Pleasants and it soon was on the doorstep of Rounder Records, where she was immediately signed. Rounder released Fall From Grace and it hit the top of the charts of Gavin Americana Radio in 1997. After a third disc, Sampou and Rounder parted ways and Les released her first all acoustic country blues album, Borrowed & Blue on her own label. Always side-stepping categorization, this time Sampou put out a collection of the guitar-based blues tunes that were a staple in Less live shows. Jay Miller, Music Critic for The Patriot Ledger reviewed the album, writing, "Sampou's guitar work is breathtaking--her six-string mentor Paul Rishell must be proud. Most notably her vocal work is thrilling, adding layers of emotional depth to this eclectic mix of four Sampou originals, old classics by the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Blind Willie McTell and some surprises, like Bob Dylan's Meet Me in the Morning. An understated triumph."
Les Sampou has performed at Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Blues Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival (where she won the New Folk Songwriting Award), Philadelphia Folk Festival, Winnipeg, and Falcon Ridge to name a few. She has conducted workshops at Berklee School of Music and appeared on the top syndicated radio programs such as Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, and NPR. Sampou has released five albums, three on her own label and two on Rounder Records, Her second album, "Fall from Grace", topped the Gavin Americana Charts nationwide. Her most recent release Lonesomeville (2010) charted number 2 on the US/European Americana F.A.R. Charts and led to her performance at the 2011 SXSW Conference in Austin, TX.
The folk press has called Geoff Bartley a world-class guitarist, a brilliant songwriter and the prophet and spiritual godfather of the Boston folk scene. His last two CDs, 2009's "Put the Big Stone Down" and 2011's "Mercy for the Dispossessed went to No. 1 on folk radio.
Geoff was born in New York City in 1948, and grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland. His mother played piano and his father, a doctor, played clarinet, and he grew up surrounded by classical music. In 1963 Bartley picked up the acoustic guitar. His influences included original pre-war acoustic blues players and singers such as Lightnin Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, and Blind Willie McTell, and later folk musicians and interpreters of the blues, including Bob Dylan, Tom Rush, Bonnie Raitt, and Dave van Ronk.
In the 1980s, Geoff participated in the National Fingerpicking Championships in Winfield, Kansas, winning guitars 4 years in a row from 1984 to 1987. Since 1991, he has hosted a folk singer/songwriter open mic at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge every Monday evening. The success of the folk open mic led the venue to ask him to host Tuesday evenings as well. Bluegrass Tuesdays eventually became what master fiddler and Berklee professor of music Matt Glaser called "the epicenter of bluegrass in Boston," and multiple bluegrass bands have met each other and gained experience through jamming in the Cantab's basement and stairwells and performing on its stage. The Cambridge Mayor's Office in conjunction with the Boston Bluegrass Union proclaimed February 13, 2004 to be Geoff Bartley Day. Since 1994 Geoff has played guitar and sung harmony for folk treasure Tom Paxton. Songs and instrumentals he has written have been used on the History Channel, Animal Planet, the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, NOVA and Nature on PBS and other cable networks, in films and documentaries, and in advertising in the US and other countries.
Luckart Gallery by Bocca Bella Cafe (View)
438-442 Lexington St.
Newton, MA 02466
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