Skip directly to content

Artist name

Sam Amidon

news

  • February 10, 2016

    Sam Amidon has been performing songs from his latest album, Lily-O, on the road, making stops across the US and Europe. One such stop was at the Pickathon festival in Happy Valley, Oregon, last summer, where he performed "Down the Line," from Lily-O, for Seattle public radio station KEXP's Pickathon Logging Road Series. You can watch the just-released performance here.

  • January 28, 2016

    The line-up for the 2016 MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati has been announced, and among the performers are Kronos Quartet, Punch Brothers, Chris Thile, and Sam Amidon. The three-day festival, founded by artistic director Bryce Dessner, will take place March 18–20. Kronos Quartet will join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for performances at Cincinnati's Music Hall the first two nights of the festival, performing works by Julia Wolfe and Terry Riley. Chris Thile closes out Friday night's program with a solo set and joins his fellow Punch Brothers to close out the weekend at the Cincinnati Masonic Center Auditorium on Sunday with Sam Amidon.

  • about Sam Amidon

    Lily-O, a new album of reimagined folk songs by Vermont-born singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon was released September 30 by Nonesuch Records, with the vinyl following on October 27. The album was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Feist) and features the innovative jazz guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, along with Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro. 

    “Walkin’ Boss” is one of the first songs I learned on the banjo, by playing along with a recording by Jeff Davis as a teenager,” Amidon said. “As it happens this is also the first tune that we recorded during the sessions, on a crisp October morning in Reykjavik."

    Frisell has been a hero of Amidon’s since the young Vermont native first heard the guitarist play at the Village Vanguard during a teenage visit to New York City. The two musicians stayed in touch and had their first live collaboration in 2011; not long after, Amidon began contemplating a return to Iceland to make a third album at Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse Studios. He eventually invited Frisell to join him and Sigurðsson, along with Ismaily and Vatalaro, to record what became Lily-O.

    “I decided to put us all in a room together in Reykjavik for a few days,” Amidon said. “I knew if I got Bill together with those guys they would get into a deep situation. I imagined that we would do something weird and fiddle-based, but when we got in there it just felt great to sing the songs I had gathered. Recording took about four days. I'd teach them the basic structure of the song; we'd do a few takes, and move on to a new one. There's maybe one or two overdubs but otherwise you're hearing what we played.”

    Lily-O’s ten songs are mostly traditional folk songs gathered from disparate sources and refashioned in Amidon’s signature way. The interplay between the four musicians is informed by their backgrounds in improvised music and the spontaneous nature of the sessions. As always, the central element is Amidon’s voice, which, in his deceptively understated manner, tells tales of adventure, love, violence and redemption.

    Lily-O follows four albums by Amidon including his 2013 Nonesuch debut, Bright Sunny South. 2010’s I See The Sign and 2008’s All Is Well were made for the Icelandic label Bedroom Community and featured orchestral arrangements by composer Nico Muhly. Along the way Amidon has performed worldwide in myriad contexts, collaborating with musicians such as Muhly, Thomas Bartlett/Doveman, Beth Orton and Glen Hansard. He has appeared as a guest artist on recent albums by Tune-Yards, Aoife O’Donovan and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

on February 7, 2013 - 7:36pm

Lily-O, a new album of reimagined folk songs by Vermont-born singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon was released September 30 by Nonesuch Records, with the vinyl following on October 27. The album was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Feist) and features the innovative jazz guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, along with Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro. 

“Walkin’ Boss” is one of the first songs I learned on the banjo, by playing along with a recording by Jeff Davis as a teenager,” Amidon said. “As it happens this is also the first tune that we recorded during the sessions, on a crisp October morning in Reykjavik."

Frisell has been a hero of Amidon’s since the young Vermont native first heard the guitarist play at the Village Vanguard during a teenage visit to New York City. The two musicians stayed in touch and had their first live collaboration in 2011; not long after, Amidon began contemplating a return to Iceland to make a third album at Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse Studios. He eventually invited Frisell to join him and Sigurðsson, along with Ismaily and Vatalaro, to record what became Lily-O.

“I decided to put us all in a room together in Reykjavik for a few days,” Amidon said. “I knew if I got Bill together with those guys they would get into a deep situation. I imagined that we would do something weird and fiddle-based, but when we got in there it just felt great to sing the songs I had gathered. Recording took about four days. I'd teach them the basic structure of the song; we'd do a few takes, and move on to a new one. There's maybe one or two overdubs but otherwise you're hearing what we played.”

Lily-O’s ten songs are mostly traditional folk songs gathered from disparate sources and refashioned in Amidon’s signature way. The interplay between the four musicians is informed by their backgrounds in improvised music and the spontaneous nature of the sessions. As always, the central element is Amidon’s voice, which, in his deceptively understated manner, tells tales of adventure, love, violence and redemption.

Lily-O follows four albums by Amidon including his 2013 Nonesuch debut, Bright Sunny South. 2010’s I See The Sign and 2008’s All Is Well were made for the Icelandic label Bedroom Community and featured orchestral arrangements by composer Nico Muhly. Along the way Amidon has performed worldwide in myriad contexts, collaborating with musicians such as Muhly, Thomas Bartlett/Doveman, Beth Orton and Glen Hansard. He has appeared as a guest artist on recent albums by Tune-Yards, Aoife O’Donovan and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Sort Name: 
Amidon Sam
Artist Genre: 
Biography (Excerpt): 

Nonesuch Records released Sam Amidon’s label debut, Bright Sunny South, in 2013, followed by Lily-O on September 30, 2014. The Vermont-born and raised, London-based Amidon is known for his reworking of traditional melodies into a new form. In addition to country ballads and shape-note hymns, his work features interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs. Previous solo albums include I See the Sign, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted, and All Is Well. Amidon has also collaborated on performances pieces with Nico Muhly, toured as part of Thomas Bartlett’s group Doveman, collaborated with Beth Orton, and embarked on a series of live shows with the guitarist Bill Frisell.

Weight: 
10
Active Artist: 
No