Usually being a runner-up on Britain’s Got Talent would short circuit a burgeoning career, but Cornwall’s Sam Kelly has rendered it a forgotten footnote on what is an incredibly exciting rise to the foreground of the folk scene.
The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has released two EPs and an album since the 2012 final of the popular TV show; with his brilliant vocals and energetic live performances with The Lost Boys leaving more than audiences impressed: he can count Kate Rusby, Sean Lakeman, Cara Dillon and Mark Radcliffe amongst his admirers.
Such praise, and impressive performances at Cambridge Folk Festival and on BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show, saw him awarded the prestigious Horizon Award for emerging artists at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, which is no mean feat.
This year sees the release of Kelly’s new album, ‘Pretty Peggy’, and, if recent singles ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Greenland Whale’ are anything to go by, the boys have taken their contemporary folk sound on a level from 2015’s album, ‘The Lost Boys’.
Kelly’s love for traditional Celtic tunes – inspired by his grandfather – plus a bit of classic rock and blues makes him one of the most in-demand folk acts in the country.
The Lost Boys bring nuance, subtlety and a thumping rhythm and are made up of the excellent Ciaran Algar (fiddle, tenor guitar, bouzouki), Jamie Francis (banjo), Toby Shaer (flutes, pipes, whistles, fiddle, cittern), Graham Coe (cello), Archie Moss (melodeon) and Evan Carson (percussion). Sage Two is in for a treat.
Support comes from Manchester’s powerful young quartet, 4Square.
Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys play Sage Two, Gateshead on Tuesday 26th September. Tickets, priced at £14.70 in advance, are available from sagegateshead.com.