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Return to Earth

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Album Review

Return to Earth is the 12th from the Samples and is a return to their glory days. The CD was recorded at Electric Wilburland Studios, located in a renovated Baptist church that dates back to the early 1900s. Because of solo projects, the band took two years to record Return to Earth, and the result is very positive. The inspirational recording location and the thoughtful pace allowed the band to create what loyal followers will hear as a throwback to the band's debut. Years of label turmoil seemed to have sucked the life out of a band which loved making music and touring. The rebirth as an independent band has rejuvenated the group. The Samples and Toad the Wet Sprocket are two band who enjoyed major-label success but also developed their careers through grassroots efforts. In some ways, Return to Earth is similar from the band's other CDs, focusing on environmentally friendly lyrics and intelligent melodies. However, the extra time taken resulted in better songwriting and inspired, economical performances. The highlight on this album is the appearance of Dave Matthews Band's Boyd Tinsley on "Great Blue Ocean." However, unlike his guest spot on Autopilot, this song is not the only strong track in the set. Songs like "The Class of 1979" and "Tom Joad (All Right Here)" are among the more mature and interesting compositions the band has released in years. Other highlights include "Wild River" and "Lonely Soul." This is a good pickup for Samples fans who might have taken some time off from the band.


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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Return to Earth, The Samples
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