Sam Francis

Award: Postgraduate Award

Year: 2017

Genre: Rock/Pop

Instrument/voice type: Guitar

Location: Royal Northern College of Music


"Already making himself known on the Blues and Folk music scenes, Sam Jefferson is not afraid to challenge expectations with a playing style that is as dynamic as the stories and ideas he sings about…Sam has gained a reputation on the Brighton live music scene while also gigging in Dorset, Somerset, London, and Bavaria. Known in particular as a skilled slide guitarist, composer, and arranger, the young musician’s live shows do justice to the diversity of his repertoire.” (Brighton Unsigned).

Raised on a steady diet of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bert Jansch, and Woody Guthrie records, traditional Blues and Folk music is at the heart of Sam Jefferson’s musical soul. Upon graduating from Sussex University in July 2015, Sam recorded and independently released his first solo album, ‘Rhythm’s Tide’, comprised of seven original compositions and three arrangements. An album which Brighton Unsigned’s James Whittingham concluded “[would] no doubt pave the way to more musical gems from this promising young artist”.

Inspired by contemporary artists such as Martin Simpson, who he studied with in late 2015, Sam is not one to arbitrarily separate genres. His compositions and arrangements are animated by diverse styles. ‘The Dirty Five’ , a self-penned ballad inspired by a photograph Sam’s great-grandfather, Jim Marshall, sent back during the First World War, which would typically be considered more of a Folk composition, contains melodies inspired by the Blues. Sam explains “I wrote those sections in particular to convey the larrikin sense of adventure Jim and his mates shared; that in the desperation of trench warfare, these five Barnsley lads were able to keep each other’s spirits up with their jokes and jaunty songs right until the end”.

‘The Dirty Five’ has since been aired on BBC Radio Sheffield along with an interview Sam gave, and has been featured in an article by The Royal British Legion. Sam is currently working on an album of songs inspired by his family history as part of the coal-mining community in Barnsley.

During the brief interludes when he isn’t belting out finger-tearing, foot-stomping Blues in a lively pub or venue, Sam works as a studio session guitarist, songwriter, and guitar teacher.

Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award holder. Thanks to the support of Help Musicians UK, Sam will begin his Masters Degree at the Royal Northern College of Music in September.