23rd November 2023 : Sam Kelly & Jamie Francis

It is over 5 years since Sam and Jamie were last at the Barn. Our resident reviewer Toby wrote:

Sam possesses great vocal strength – not only is he up front in terms of the overall presentation and introductions but also in terms of the way he sings – confidently and with spirit and vitality.

What we heard tonight was a string of interpretations of old favourites combined with a smattering of originals, all delivered with a confident ‘in your face’ directness which certainly works, judging by the enthusiastic audience reaction.

Jamie’s banjo playing is stunning. His proficiency is evident for all to see and hear and his
virtuosity is the engine that drives the overall performance. I tapped my toes ‘til the blisters burst, such was the vibrancy of his playing.

Toby Wood

Sam writes and arranges most of his material with his main musical collaborator, Jamie Francis. After meeting at university in Brighton in 2010 and discovering a common interest in roots music, Sam and Jamie began playing together in a folk band, with Jamie (a guitar player first and foremost) deciding to learn to play the banjo because Sam was already the guitarist. They also performed at many open mics and venues as a duo, performing original, folk and blues songs. Naturally, the lives of two young musicians who have absolutely no idea what they´re doing became choc-full of many colourful experiences (including Sam auditioning for ITV´s Britain´s Got Talent whilst in London for a gig, and ending up getting all the way to the final). They still perform together at folk clubs, venues and festivals, performing inventive interpretations of tunes and songs in between (occasionally) funny anecdotes and stories of their misadventures.