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Sam Kelly & The Lost BoysSam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Album: Pretty Peggy
Label: Navigator
Tracks: 12

I guess I could have reviewed this album with three simple letters and a punctuation mark, Wow! I was really tempted, but knew that it would sell both you the reader and the album short. Yes sure it makes my views about what an incredible album this is clear, but actually tells you nothing.

You wouldn't be able to take away that sense of the incredible musicianship that runs like life blood throughout the entire album and is becoming a who's who of the millennial generation of musicians all in demand for numerous other projects: Sam Kelly, Jamie Francis, Evan Carson, Ciaran Algar, Toby Shaer, Graham Coe, and Archie Moss.

Similarly you would have heard nothing about the deep expressive vocals that Sam brings to every track that fleshes out the underlying skeleton of every track, be it an interpretation of a traditional song or original composition.

The album is rich in pioneering spirit. Even on the darker tracks, you get a sense of a group that is pushing out on a great adventure and even though the mood of the track may be sad and stormy it's the sense of personal enjoyment and accomplishment on the whole performance. A sense that is enhanced by the instrumentation, with a sound that feels like it hails from the time when English Folk music first hit the Catskills.

"Pretty Peggy" would seem to be a defining moment for Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, their "London Calling" moment. Whilst it's a studio album, it captures the integrity and attitude of their live performance and consequently takes those repeated plays. If you only had one album to sustain you through a seven hour car journey, this is it. Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys have delivered an album that draws comparison with the moment June Tabor released an album with Oysterband.

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys are redefining the relationship with folk music both the band and the fans are enjoying the process. "Pretty Peggy" is here for the long term.

Neil King