‘Amidon is a rare Americana artist [whose] … signature banjo-strewn style … and disparate mix of influences play into a sound that is at once archaically rootsy and savvily refined.’ Wall Street Journal
‘A folk/bluegrass troubadour from Vermont who delves into shape-note traditions and Appalachian ballads and makes it all beguilingly his own. His guitar lines have the fancy fingerwork of a crack banjo player and his banjo lines have the tugging suspensions of a jazzer.’ Guardian
Sam Amidon is a singer-fiddler-banjoist-guitarist originally hailing from Vermont, US.
His newest album titled Sam Amidon, will be released on Nonesuch records later this year. The album, which Amidon considers the fullest realization to date of his artistic vision, comprises his radical reworkings of nine mostly traditional folk songs, performed by Amidon and his band of longtime friends and collaborators. Amidon produced the record, applying the sonic universe of his 2017 The Following Mountain to these beloved tunes, many of which he first learned as a child. “Pretty Polly,” for example, was one of the first traditional tunes he learned to play, and “Time Has Made a Change” is a song that his parents—singers who were on the 1977 Nonesuch recording Rivers of Delight with the Word of Mouth Chorus—sang around the house when he was young. Further details, along with pre-orders and an album track, will be available in early September.
Amidon and his frequent band of multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro were joined in the studio by Belgian guitarist Bert Cools (who played on his last EP), as well as Amidon’s wife, Beth Orton, who adds vocals on three songs. Acoustic bassist Ruth Goller and saxophonist and labelmate Sam Gendel also play on the album, which was mixed by Leo Abrahams. Sam Amidon was mostly recorded live in the studio. Amidon arranged the songs, which are traditional tunes, with the exception of Taj Mahal’s “Light Rain Blues,” Harkins Frye’s “Time Has Made a Change,” and “Hallelujah,” which is an 1835 William Walker shape-note tune using earlier words by Charles Wesley, found in the Sacred Harp collection of early American folk-hymns.
Sam Amidon is Amidon’s fifth recording on Nonesuch and follows the 2019 EP Fatal Flower Garden. Additional recordings include his 2017 album The Following Mountain and Kronos Quartet’s Folk Songs the same year, on which he was a featured singer along with Rhiannon Giddens, Natalie Merchant, and Olivia Chaney; Lily-O in 2014; and his label debut, Bright Sunny South, in 2013.
There are a limited number of tickets available in the Hall. Tickets to stream the event from home are also available here.