(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 of her career 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, where she 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.
Photo: Bob Cartwright
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 heading up the music team at Eden Centre, in Malvern, Worcester, where she has now settled.
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.
TO DOWNLOAD ALBUM:
CAROL LEE SAMPSON : Bigger Picture (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.
TO DOWNLOAD ALBUM:
USA Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/biggerpicture/id880778490
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)
TO DOWNLOAD ALBUM:
GILTRAP with Carol Lee Sampson and Martin Green : Echoes of Heaven.
(Big Web Entertainment Limited : BW4207)
guess the name Gordon Giltrap needs no introduction, especially if
you are a fan of folk music, but beyond that he has worked with some
very famous artists over the years such as Brian May, Rick Wakeman
and Midge Ure. This album was borne out of Gordon's feeling that some
his tunes would work well as hymns and, as a result he teamed up with
Carol and Martin to provide the lyrics and vocals – and a
smattering of extra guitar too. As expected there is a strong folk
feel supported by Gordon's style and altered tunings. The opener
“Praise Him” is a big opening number, with a percussive guitar
riff and a full band backing. In fact, in almost ventures into the
area of prog rock. However, it's not a very representative track, as
most remain laid back and stripped back. I particularly love the
catchy “Under a Blue Sky” and the festive “Christmas Carol”.
The songs “Heartsong” and “The Lord is My Strength” reprise
the more energetic and fuller sound of the opener but this remains a
contemplative and reflective collection of songs. My only criticism
is the two instrumentals that consist of a narrative over the top –
I would have preferred these to remain instrumental as they are
beautiful pieces of music. Whilst I can see the purpose of the
narrative, it doesn't work for me and breaks up the mood of the
album. However that gripe aside, this is a great cd, offering
something very different and it will certainly remain in my playlist
for some time to come. 9/10