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Al was one of the founding members of a band you might have heard of – The Samples. The reggae-influenced rock group achieved fame in the 90s, headlining national touring festivals and sharing the stage with the likes of Dave Matthews Band, The Wailers and Blues Traveler. Laughlin co-wrote some of the band’s most iconic songs, and his percussive, off-beat reggae keyboard style helped define the band’s much-loved sound.
Time moves on and many things change, but Laughlin is still growing and making great music. Collaborating with many of his old Samples bandmates, as well as new blood from the vibrant Colorado music scene, Laughlin has crafted a new sound in Highway 50 – a reggae/jazz/ska jam band named after a lonely road in Utah where Laughlin once ran out of gas.
Highway 50 is a fusion of talent and genres that will have your foot tapping and your head bobbing along within the first few beats. It’s a big crew: the band’s lineup includes guitarists James Hambleton and Scott Higgins, drummers Jeep MacNichol (also formally of The Samples), Brian Nevin (of Big Head Todd and the Monsters), horn players Andrew McNew, Matt Planer, bassist Chris Wright and female vocalist Liz Forester. Live shows are always an exciting affair.
In 2016, Highway 50 released their sophomore album, The Violet Project, following their eponymous debut in 2014. The five-track EP is a compelling and upbeat mix of jazz, pop, and horn-soaked reggae. The band tours extensively throughout Colorado, proving to everyone that the Rocky Mountains can groove along with the best beaches.