Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sam Amidon

Add Date: April 20

Artist: Sam Amidon

Album: I See the Sign

Label: Bedroom Community

Genre: Folk

Comments: A superb record from Vermont native Sam Amidon, who spins traditional songs and modern works--I See the Sign features a cover of an R. Kelly song, "Relief"--into beautifully orchestrated folk. Amidon plays the banjo and guitar, and his "intimate, unshowy voice" has been compared to Arthur Russell (Q Magazine); his songs are fleshed out by the production of Icelandic wizard Valgeir Sigurdsson and the arrangements of Amidon's long-time friend and collaborator, the composer Nico Muhly. Truly wonderful music that will appeal to fans of Nina Nastasia, Bill Callahan/(smog) and Bonnie "Prince" Billy (who has also been known to cover R. Kelly).

Start with "How Come That Blood," of which Pitchfork said: "Sam Amidon sees no difference between a 19th-century folk ballad and a 21st-century avant-garde instrumental suite. In bridging the very old and the very new... he has managed to meld the rural and the urban, the organic and the synthetic, the oral tradition and the written score." That's a good way to encapsulate Amidon's approach on the entirety of I See the Sign. Also check out the title track, "Rain and Snow" and "Relief."

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