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All Music Guide:
With their relaxed, slightly jazzy pop, the Samples were one of the most popular touring bands of the early '90s. After a bad experience with a major label, the band began releasing their own records independently, building support through a grassroots network of fans. Through constant touring, the Samples were able to keep building their network of fans. They were also busy in the studio, recording three albums between 1992 and 1993. With none of their albums deviating from their folky, Sting-meets-the Grateful Dead pop, their albums -- which include 1994's Autopilot, 1996's Outpost, and 1997's Transmissions from the Sea of Tranquility live set -- are virtually indistinguishable from each other. However, none of them are bad; each record has a couple of first-rate songs, showing why they are concert favorites across the country. Here and Somewhere Else followed in 1998 and Sparta was issued in fall 2000. Return to Earth appeared in 2001, and this studio effort included a guest spot from Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band on the track "Great Blue Ocean." The three-disc Anthology in Motion, Vol. 1 arrived in 2002, followed by 2003's Seventeen, a stripped-down live set performed before a thankful crowd at Connecticut's Quinnipiac College. The band returned to the studio for 2004's Black & White and 2005's Rehearsing for Life.