Concert Festival Heartstrings Review

Sam Lee at GlobalFest 2015

By Andrew Kase

It was a cold Sunday night in New York, as crowds of people entered the iconic venue of Webster Hall for GlobalFest 2015. GlobalFest’s mission is to expand their audience wherever they can, support the tours of its artists and assist the arts by providing grants to various tours. This nonprofit organization formed in 2003, and since its inception, has become an exceedingly popular and premier music event in North America. All who are involved with GlobalFest continue to succeed in spreading the unique sounds of its artists throughout the city and across the globe.

One of the artists who performed as part of this eclectic festival was British folk singer Sam Lee, with his band, Sam Lee and Friends. This performance marked their very first in New York City. The audience filled up the cozy basement space of Webster Hall, also known as The Studio, as Sam Lee and [his talented] Friends took the stage.

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With the surprise of a few production glitches, Lee quipped: “We may have to go acoustic, who knows?” He continued, “We’re so thrilled to be here…We bring the old songs from Great Britain,” said Lee. “It’s great to bring them over to the New World, in a new way.” His charm and humor immediately engaged the audience, who readied themselves for the artistry to follow.

Lee asked the audience to hum along to “Phoenix Island,” which many obliged as they swayed back and forth. And whether it was the Anglo-Romany-Gypsy sounds of “Moorlough Maggie” or crowd pleaser, “Phoenix Island” (both songs from Lee’s debut album Ground of Its Own), the ensemble consistently entertained the crowd, chock full of music fans, tourists, press and anyone who ventured downstairs to see the show.

After the electro-infused song, “The Blackbird,” ended, Lee mused about how the temperature was quickly rising in the intimate space, to which an audience member shouted “Take off the sweater!” Lee quickly replied, “No, I don’t do that anymore,” referring to his former days as a burlesque performer. The energy on stage spilled into the room, as the crowd started to loosen up, clap along and dance during “The Ballad of George Collins,” another song off Lee’s first album.

Lee and his talented friends pulled off an impressive inaugural show for both GlobalFest and the Big Apple.

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