October 15, 2016
A Musical Lairs' favorite, Les Sampou, who lives in the South Shore outside Boston, began playing in the streets in what she terms as "relatively late in life." 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 cutting her teeth in the streets, Les began playing area clubs, doing the 9 pm - 1 am shifts for little or no cash that can be summed up as "paying her dues." 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 didn't 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.
Since then, there have been many more albums and Les 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. Sampou has conducted workshops at Berklee School of Music and appeared on the top syndicated radio programs such as Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, and NPR.
Les rarely gets down to this area anymore, as her New England touring schedule and raising a daughter keep her very busy closer to home. It's a special treat to welcome her back to Musical Lairs.
Simply put - it's live acoustic music in a private living room with an audience of friends, both new and old, and great food that everyone brings to share. The music is outstanding - these are very talented musicians. Most tour professionally, usually nationally, some even internationally. More...