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Rehearsing for Life

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Album Review

The Samples may have eluded mainstream success, but like Widespread Panic, these veterans of the early-'90s college rock scene have built a loyal following through near-constant touring and a deep catalog of material that spans nearly 20 years. Rehearsing for Life continues in the time-honored Samples tradition of solid, emotional songwriting that manages to keep one foot firmly in the jam band scene while the other foot kicks around in the library of pop. Leadoff track "My Guitar" will please both camps with its laid-back protagonist and infectious melody, but it's not indicative of the record as a whole. "Heaven," a spooky, jazz-tinged dirge with shades of Skylarking-era XTC, and the brooding "Sad World" both bear a heaviness that contrasts with Rehearsing's sprightlier numbers, resulting in a work that's as mature as it is Hacky Sack-ready. The group remain true to its environmental sensibilities with the rousing "Brown Eyes in the Sun," and the mammoth closer, "Moves Me Like a River," seems destined to turn into a fan favorite. Overall, Rehearsing for Life offers little in the way of surprises, but the Samples bring an earnestness to each song that permeates the whole project, resulting in a listening experience that's as fireplace-pleasant as it is Sunday roast-dependable.


Formed: 1989 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their relaxed, slightly jazzy pop, the Samples were one of the most popular touring bands of the early '90s. After a bad experience with a major label, the band began releasing their own records independently, building support through a grassroots network of fans. Through constant touring, the Samples were able to keep building their network of fans. They were also busy in the studio, recording three albums between 1992 and 1993. With none of their albums deviating from their folky, Sting-meets-the...
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Rehearsing for Life, The Samples
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