Lingua disponibile: ingleseSinger, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon is a contemporary folk musician who often peppers his albums with traditional tunes alongside his original compositions. (Two of his most celebrated releases, 2007's All Is Well and 2010's I See the Sign, were entirely comprised of folk standards, with the exception of one tune by R. Kelly on the latter.) Possessing a voice that's gentle but evocative, Amidon's style is usually spare and atmospheric, focusing on acoustic instruments and a style that insinuates rather than speaking boldly, though 2017's The Following Mountain found him branching out, writing all the material and working with veteran jazz musicians to create a darker and more experimental vision. Samuel Tear, aka Sam Amidon, began playing fiddle at the age of three. Raised by musician parents on a steady diet of Irish and Appalachian folk in Brattleboro, Vermont, Amidon spent the early arc of his teens performing and recording traditional dance and avant folk music with his parents, as well as his own group, Assembly. He added banjo and guitar to his repertoire after relocating to New York City, where he began collaborating with longtime friend Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), as well as a host of other acts like Tall Firs, the Swell Season, and Stares. He released his debut album, Solo Fiddle, in 2003, followed in 2007 by But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted and All Is Well in 2008. Amidon married singer/songwriter Beth Orton and the two had a son in 2011. Amidon's output remained strong as he entered into family life, with new volumes arriving in the form of 2009's duet with percussionist Aaron Siegel, Fiddle and Drum, 2010's I See the Sign, and for Nonesuch, 2013's Bright Sunny South and 2014's Lily-O. The latter featured guitar legend Bill Frisell. In 2015, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted was reissued in an expanded edition from Omnivore Records after years out of print. His first album to consist entirely of original songs, The Following Mountain arrived via Nonesuch in 2017. It was produced by Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Frightened Rabbit) and featured guests including veteran jazz drummer Milford Graves. When Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Belgium presented an exhibit honoring Harry Smith's groundbreaking collection The Anthology of American Folk Music, they invited Amidon to perform a concert devoted to songs from the set. Amidon and Shahzad Ismaily booked a two-day session in a London studio to record some of the songs they worked up for the event, resulting in a four-song EP, Fatal Flower Garden (A Tribute to Harry Smith), that was released in November 2019. ~ James Christopher Monger
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