Samsel And The Skirt
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Samsel And The Skirt

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Americana




"Band Married To Music"

Cary Samsel took one look at her and was smitten.

“I was like, ‘Man! I want to marry her!’ ”

“Her” was Kelsey Easterbrooks, who became Mrs. Samsel exactly one year ago Nov. 24.

Not only did Cary fall in love with her face and soul, he also fell in love with her singing voice.

“I’ve never heard a voice like that,” he says. “It gives me chills because it’s so pure.”

The couple met four years ago at a church in Happy Valley, where both play music. Slowly, over the first two years after they met, their friendship blossomed into romance.

In fact, Kelsey, 21, says she didn’t even realize Cary, 25, was in love with her till they were playing a show together, and he decided to break out a new song called “Win You Over.”

“There was this whole middle section where he was talking about her ‘green eyes,’ which I have,” she says with a smile. “I was like, ‘Holy crap! This is about me.’ ”

Now the couple are not just fully in love, they’re also committed to becoming a full-time act as leaders of Samsel and the Skirt, a folk rock group that anchors the second annual Soundcheck concert Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Aladdin Theater.

The band includes Alex Sneath on guitar, Spencer Buckle on bass, and Nathan Powell on drums.

Samsel and the Skirt recently secured a top 100 spot in the national Guitar Center Singer/Songwriter contest. They will be reviewed by producers and may have a chance to record with Don Was of Was Not Was and producer for Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and John Mayer.

Mellow mates

The Samsels share a low-key Christian faith — although they’re both active in church, they’re not exactly preachy, and Cary confesses to a checkered rock ‘n’ roll past that pretty much kills any desire to judge others. They prefer people learn about their faith because of how they act, not what they say, they both note. They also share a fiercely strong love for music.

“Music is the one thing we fight about,” Cary says. “I try and pull rank too much because I’m like ‘I’ve been doing this since I was 14.’ ”

Indeed, Cary cut his teeth playing backup guitar for his dad, Ry Cooder/Meredith Brooks alumnus Jesse Samsel, at age 16 on the Portland blues scene. Cary toured with blues soul legend Terry Evans, playing bass and singing backup, and also has jammed with The Coasters.

Kelsey, however, makes it clear she doesn’t let Cary win all the musical arguments, despite his street cred.

“I say, ‘I’m in the band — I got the job’ ” she says as they both chuckle.

Soundcheck features nine Portland acts whose styles incorporate rock, hip hop, folk, indie, soul and jazz. In addition to the Samsels, the Tribune talked to Haley Johnsen and Sarah Billings about the upcoming show. - Portland Tribune

"Gallery 135"

We’re fortunate to have Samsel and the Skirt, a local Portland duo with a growing following, performing at our First Thursday event. The art was created by the designers in studio and was all inspired by the band. Come by the gallery or check it out at
- IDL Worldwide

"Electric Bean"

Huge buzz has been going around town about Samsel and The Skirt. And through their videos you can see why! They are coming to the Bean for the first time. A dynamic duo with incredibly soulful vocals. They just finished their album record here in Longview, at House Below. - See more at: -

"Electric Bean"

Huge buzz has been going around town about Samsel and The Skirt. And through their videos you can see why! They are coming to the Bean for the first time. A dynamic duo with incredibly soulful vocals. They just finished their album record here in Longview, at House Below. - See more at: -

"New Generation Of Musicians"

By Brad Morley

The northwest music scene has turned out some great musicians. Even more exciting is watching the offspring of some of Portland’s finest players mature and find their own sound; Cary Samsel, son of Jesse Samsel, is putting the final touches on his live band, Samsel & The Skirt, as they set out to play local venues in support of the band’s new CD.

Armed with a collection of original songs, Samsel & The Skirt powers through a live set. From the power pop opening tune, to the heartfelt blues and folk songs, this band has a little something for everyone.

As he grew up in Portland, Cary was influenced by many great local musicians, taking those influences and gaining his own sound. The project Samsel & The Skirt was born, finding a songwriting partner in his new bride, Kelsey Samsel. The young couple works together on stage, blending vocal styles and weaving back and forth between the many hooks each song has to deliver. Kelsey was raised in the Boring, Ore., area and first started singing with her church and then writing songs and performing with friends.

The band mentions Influences of John Mayer, Taylor Swift and Terry Evans. Just like those artists, Cary knows the value of a hook and also knows when to use them, performing songs that are original and easy to listen to at first glance. As they played venues all over Portland and branch out to other cities, this band is on the move and without question, on the way up.

Playing a small but unique club in northwest Portland, the band had the Club Backspace, located at 115 N.W. 5th, filled to a very comfortable level with fans that seemed excited at the prospect of the new CD release and were ready for a good night of music. The band delivered with the help of a nice house sound system, complete with a sound man. The vocals and background instruments sounded fantastic in this very charismatic boutique venue. The Club Backspace is a very nice place to go for live music and is surrounded with great restaurants, allowing you to park your car in one of the many parking garages in the immediate area and have a simple quality night on the town.

Look for Samsel & The Skirt playing the Portland nightclub scene, Like them on Facebook and get behind one of the best and most exciting new musical acts our great own has to offer. Upcoming performances include Feb 25 White Eagle; March 1 Brewery Blocks Starbucks, 8-9; March 9, 23 Smoky Hearth, Sandy, Oregon - Positively Entertainment

"The Zemmy Show"

"These kids got me, new fan." - The Zemmy Show

"The Zemmy Show"

"These kids got me, new fan." - The Zemmy Show


LP - Shoebox (2014)
EP - Samsel And The Skirt (2013)



Samsel And The Skirt is an alt-country band from Portland. Their earnest lyrics and energetic shows pull on heartstrings and keep feet stomping.

Samsel And The Skirt started in early 2011 as a songwriting partnership between lead singers Cary Samsel and Kelsey Easterbrooks. After a few months of writing they thought it would be fun to play some shows and share the new songs with friends and anyone else that would listen.

Many coffee shops and a wedding later, the two were ready to record their first EP. Instead of recording as a duo in the shadow of the Civil Wars, they opted to bring in some talented friends to give their music a new angle.

With the addition of Nathan Powell (Drums) Spencer Buckle (bass) and Alex Sneath (Electric Guitar) The band received great press on the EP and live shows from local papers and got the opportunity to sign with Mosaic Artistry Group for management. After writing for more than a year Samsel And The Skirt launched a Kickstarter campaign and successfully funded their newest album.

The new album is full of sincere lyrics, catchy hooks and good old foot stomping fun. The band is gearing up for a April release. Come sing along and join the family.

-Sam Roberts

Band Members