Not content with resting on his laurels, Sam enlisted the extraordinary talents of new band members Ciaran Algar (fiddle) and Graham Coe (cello) and went straight back into the studio to record his debut album. 'The Lost Boys' came out in November 2015 to a storm of rave reviews, cementing Sam's place as one of the most rapidly rising stars on the UK folk scene, and enticing Radio 2 to invite the guys into the BBC studios as the featured live session guests on the Mark Radcliffe Show - an honour usually only bestowed upon much more established musicians. The album also landed Sam the Horizon Award for emerging artists at the 2016 Radio 2 Folk Awards, and was championed by numerous legends of folk broadcasting, including Mike Harding - who played tracks from the album for four weeks in a row on his online radio podcast.
In 2017 Sam signed a publishing deal with Wipe Out Music, an agency deal with Strada Music and a record deal with legendary folk label Navigator Records, and in a very exciting year saw his music appear on a wide variety of mediums from Channel 4 Soap Hollyoaks to Sky Sports darts coverage, Sky Arts to Cafe Nero. After a full summer of headline festival slots with his band, he released his second album, and The Lost Boys first album - Pretty Peggy in November 2017. This album proved a huge leap forward for Sam and the band, as they were nominated for Best Group at the 2018 Radio 2 Folk Awards, and Sam was invited to perform songs by Jez Lowe and Ray Hearne alongside an all-star cast of folk musicians including Kris Drever and John McCusker for a special commission called Ballads of the Great War, which was broadcast on Radio 2 on Remembrance Day 2018.
Coming from a family largely made up of Norfolk dairy farmers has left Sam with an unmatched experience of singing in front of hurtfully disinterested Friesians, and his meandering musical journey has ranged from reaching the final of ITV's Britain's Got Talent as a teenager, to becoming one of the most prevalent folk singers of his generation. Whether playing to 13 million people on prime-time television, or to 10 people in a tiny pub, Sam's child-like fascination with music shines through, and his passion for discovering and rekindling the sounds of his musical heritage has gained him the respect of peers and audiences worldwide.
"Sam Kelly, who I just love. What a beautiful singer. He has that really rare male voice, that soft-edged tone, you know those beautiful tenor voices of the 30's and 40's...it really draws you in. Sam's absolutely great, he's going to go places." Kate Rusby (on the 'next big thing' in fRoots magazine)
"One of the best folk bands on the scene." Seth Lakeman
"Sam has such a beautiful voice and sings with so much soul. I've seen him perform live a few times and he's amazing" Cara Dillon
"I think this guy is absolutely brilliant… His voice is beyond sublime." Mike Harding
"Amazing, thrilling music." Mark Radcliffe
"A captivating performer, Sam Kelly has one of the best young male voices in British acoustic roots music. Seriously...Check him out!" Sean Lakeman
"The Lost Boys is an outstanding debut album." Bright Young Folk
"This is the album that the folk world has been awaiting... The Lost Boys is going to be huge." Folking.com