Carol Lee Sampson
(Photo: Bob Cartright)
( A BIT OF HISTORY.....just incase you're interested)
Carol was born in Jersey, Channel Islands. She wrote her first song at just 9 years old, began piano lessons at 11, and guitar at 14. Her first public performances were as a young teenager, taking part in numerous youth events and concerts.
At 19, she entered an inter-island talent contest and came runner-up, so with her prize money and some money that her Dad had left her (he had died a few years earlier) she invested in a PA system. Soon after this, she was invited to sing regularly at a local hotel.
The following year she progressed to being part of a duo caberet act called 'Just Friends' - and spent that summer season performing at different hotels on the island.
Shortly after her arrival to the Midlands back in the 80's, she began the club circuit, then landed a residency at the Celebrity Restaurant, Birmingham, where she continued working three nights a week for four years.
The next chapter saw her teaming up with friend and fellow 'songstress' Zara Ashton', and as 'Girl Talk' they travelled around the clubs and pubs of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
The Old Smithy Recording Studios, Kempsey, Worcester, is where Carol gained many hours of experience singing on radio jingles, adverts and backing vocals for different recording projects.
1990 saw Carol move to West Sussex, (with her then husband Colin Owen) where they became part of the music ministry at Colin Urquhart's Kingdom Faith Bible College, and it was during this time that she wrote many songs for corporate church worship, and recorded numerous CD's, as well as travelling around the UK, leading worship for conferences and church weekends. She's also had the privilege of ministering in the Czech Republic, Belgium, America, Norway, Spain, Gibralta and Burundi.
Carol played in the worship band alongside Dave Bilbrough, for the annual 'Faith Camp' in 1991, at Peterborough Showground. She then went on to lead the worship at those camps for the next four consecutive years 1992 to 1995, attended by an average of five thousand people.
It was in the spring of 1995 that she was approached by Kingsway Music, which led to a publishing deal and a worship album, entitled 'You Alone Are God', which was under her former name of Carol Owen.
She gave birth to her son Jack back in 2002, and since then has been writing again - many of her songs reflecting on life, and relationships, as well as continuing to write for corporate worship.
She is currently part of the music leadership team at Eden Centre, in Malvern, Worcestershire.
Photo: Bob Cartwright
More CD REVIEWS:
The Key - REVIEW by Geoff Howlett
Recording with a full band, that includes her husband Gareth, this sound is even better than her 2012 album ‘Bigger Picture’. Opening with the Sharleen Spiteri sounding ‘Addicted’, you know that you are listening to a special album. Dave Draper’s jangly electric guitars on ‘Here For You’ are a dream, while Maurice Hipkiss adds some delightful pedal steel on ‘Cut Loose’. Here, Carol moves into Martina McBride territory on a very delectable song of love. Once in a while, a track will make you really sit up, and on this album, that song is ‘I Try’. I just can’t get it out of my head! The chorus, especially, hit just the right note with me. The song itself is about a forbidden love, and the battle of resisting temptation. ‘Returning’ makes a passing nod to the story of the return of the prodigal son, as the song’s character wrestles with his demons and possibly crossing the point of no return, in his life. Again, Carol and the band turn this into a great song. I had to ask Carol about ‘Room 109’ because I found it so moving. She replied, “I was told about an old romantic film called 'Same time next year', which is the story of a couple meeting up each year,.......it just captured my imagination”. Ending the album is her single ‘Hallelujah is Our Song’, which she released last year in aid of Cancer Research UK. It’s still sounding fresh, and has gone on to raise more than £1400. With songs written from the heart, Carol has come up with a wonderful album. 9/10.
The Key - REVIEW by Keith Dixon: DOXMEDIA
Carol Lee Sampson’s latest album release continues to showcase her talent for writing and performing songs that, as any fine singer/songwriter and observer of the human condition would hope, reflect the joy and sorrow, and the passion and pain of life today, and how it effects every one of us as we go about living out our lives. Carol’s aim continues to be to communicate about, and tap into all of the experiences and feelings that life deals us, and what we, and other people can, and do experience.
As always with Carol, the songs are full of feeling, drawing inspiration as they do from real people, and real life situations, events and happenings, and they are all delivered with real conviction. Her lyrics are heartfelt, and her voice is at times strong and other times is reflective and vulnerable. A committed wife, mother, friend, person of faith and communicator, Carol’s hope with this album is that her songs will both entertain and speak into the hearts and lives of its listeners.
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CAROL LEE SAMPSON : Bigger Picture Review (CCM Newsletter 2012)
Carol was born in Jersey, and wrote her first song at the age of 9. After various musical partnerships, she moved to West Sussex in 1990 and became part of the music ministry at the Kingdom Faith Bible College. Her 1995 Kingsway album (recorded under the name of Carol Owen), ‘You Alone Are God’ gained good reviews, and since that time, she has gone on to minister and lead worship in numerous countries. This latest album sees Carol writing most of the songs herself, and what a nice album it is. ‘Breathe New Life’ is a real feel good song, while ‘Everything’ has a summer feel to it – very relaxing. I liked her dip into modern country with the story of ‘Rosaleen’, and her Amy Grant sound on ’44 Mayfair’. As you would expect from someone with her pedigree, the vocals are faultless, and should appeal to a wide audience. There’s some sensitive saxophone playing on ‘You Make Me Feel’, and great guitar work form Gordon Giltrap on the pretty ‘Everlasting Arms’. There are no lyrics printed on the sleeve, but I found these easy to listen to and understand. Carol weaves God’s love into most songs, and sings about building your relationship with Him on ‘The Rock’. There’s more country on the rocky title track, and a bouncy feel to ‘Swept Away’, where God replaces sadness with joy. The album ends with a beautiful song called ‘Don’t Wait’. If there’s someone that you care for, or need to tell them how much you love them, don’t wait until it’s too late. It’s a sign of an enjoyable album if it makes it from my house CD player and into my car. I’m pleased to say that this one made the trip. 9/10.
REVIEW from Cross Rhythms: Reviewed by Ian Hayter
Carol's story can be read in Cross Rhythms' article about her collaboration with guitar great Gordon Giltrap, but this CD showcases her articulate and heartfelt lyrics and her voice, which is at times strong and at times fragile and vulnerable. With the help of producer Dave Draper, her husband Gareth and contributions from Paul Miro on slide guitar, Hugh Thomas on sax and the aforementioned Mr Giltrap himself, the musical arrangements and performances provide an unobtrusive but immensely skilful backdrop to Carol's vocals. The songs are full of feeling, from the opening "Breathe New Life" through the country-tinged story of "Rosaleen" and guitar-driven "Seeing You" to the spiritual relief of "Swept Away", and they are all delivered with real conviction. It's an album that is powerful in every sense of the word and well worth a listen.
TO DOWNLOAD ALBUM:
USA Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/biggerpicture/id880778490
Back to Life - Review by: Peter J Brown (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
My word, this lady's good!! Diminutive acoustic singer-songwriter Carol Lee Sampson has put together an amazingly impressive album here; 'Back To Life' is just exquisite!
Carol has an almost indefinable but magical formula when it comes to penning good 'tunes' and her lyrics are both mature and heartfelt. Listening, I get the impression that Carol's managed to put part of her past to rest here - there's some quite deep stuff, but Carol doesn't let it get too heavy and it's certainly not self-indulgent. 'Back To Life' is a beautifully conceived and elegantly performed piece of work; Carol's vocals are bright, precise and very polished - she has a beautifully balanced delivery that allows her to 'emote' without ever sounding forced or contrived. Instrumentally, Carol's surrounded herself with quality musicians that seem to have a real, empathetic feel for her work and support her brilliantly. The recording is crisp and well handled and Carol's packaged the whole thing to a very high standard - this is a great album from conception to delivery!
'Back To Life' is a stunning piece of work that I've waited a long time to hear - it was well worth the wait - every bit as good as I'd expected - superb!!
(Rhythm & Booze rating 10)
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HALLELUJAH IS OUR SONG REVIEW by Geoff Howlett: (Never for Nothing publication)
The song itself is simply glorious! The lyrics and tune are uplifting .... Carol’s vocals are spot on, and the swaying rhythms of both the guitar and keyboards are pure joy. Also appearing on this release are six bonus tracks, taken from her back catalogue. Of those, ‘Back to Life’ has an ambient feel to it, and one on which Carol’s vocals sound remarkably like Olivia Newton John. ‘Everlasting Arms’ is a pleasant song about being carried and held in God’s embrace, while the piano led ‘Don’t Wait’ carries a strong message. “Don’t wait” to say sorry, or tell someone something, before it’s too late. The cost of this CD is just £3.99..... for that, you’re getting a blend of lovely songs, plus raising money for a very worthy cause. 8/10