““The fiddler with the Midas touch… an English equivalent of the great Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes.” ****”
— The Guardian
““Sweeney’s playing is unearthly at times... an outstanding and deeply moving experience.” ***** ”
“One of the defining English fiddle players of his generation”
— Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
After embarking on a solo career, releasing his debut solo album The Unfinished Violin on Island Records and touring it to sell-out crowds in 2019, Sam released his highly anticipated second solo album, Unearth Repeat, on Hudson Records in March 2020.
Moving on from his five year connection to the First World War, which inspired his first album and captured the nation’s hearts through appearances on Antiques Roadshow and BBC Breakfast, alongside BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and 6Music, Sam is making music on his own terms, with a stellar line up of his favourite musicians and a massive sound.
Unearth Repeat celebrates a new direction, not only for Sam but for English music. His new band are injecting into the tradition something that has never been heard before. The music has the groove and swagger of traditional English music with the huge sound, flare, energy and festival spirit of bands coming out of the Celtic and Scandinavian music scenes.
Leaving string sections, brass, concertina and harmonium behind, the new band brings together Sam’s unique fiddle playing, the acoustic and electric guitars of Jack Rutter (Seth Lakeman, Moore Moss Rutter) and Louis Campbell (National Youth Folk Ensemble), the double bass of Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman, Nadine Shah) and the keyboards of Dave Mackay (Art Garfunkel).
Nominated four times, and winner in 2015, of Musician Of The Year BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam is a veteran of the mighty Bellowhead, former and inaugural artistic director of the National Folk Youth Ensemble, founder member of the acclaimed instrumental trio Leveret, and a superb instrumentalist at the forefront of the revival in English traditional music. Sam has also recorded and performed with The Full English, Eliza Carthy, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party, Emily Portman, Martin Carthy, as well as his own critically acclaimed show Made In The Great War.
“"One hell of an album from one hell of a fiddler.” ***** ”
“The fiddler with the golden ear when it comes to hunting out tunes!”
— Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3
“Another one of these "nu-folk" pretenders who has seems to be darling of the month in the folk scene, but is musically bereft and sorely lacking in talent or technique is Bellowhead's own Sam Sweeney. A less able working "musician" would be very hard to find. ”