Bright Sunny South

Submitted by nonesuch on Tue, 02/26/2013 - 10:02
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

Sam Amidon’s label debut, Bright Sunny South, was produced by Amidon with his childhood friend and longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys. Recorded in London, the album features a band comprising Bartlett and multi-instrumentalists Shahzad Ismaily and Chris Vatalaro. Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also makes a cameo. Amidon himself not only sings but also plays banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album. The GuardianMojo, and Q all give it four stars. Drowned in Sound calls it "his most emotionally and tonally complex LP to date."

Description

Nonesuch Records released Sam Amidon’s label debut, Bright Sunny South, on May 14, 2013. Produced by Amidon with his childhood friend and longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club, Vashti Bunyan, R.E.M.) and recorded in London, the record features a band made up of Bartlett and multi-instrumentalists Shahzad Ismaily and Chris Vatalaro. Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also makes a cameo. Amidon himself not only sings but also plays banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album.

Amidon describes Bright Sunny South as a “a lonesome record” and a return to the more spare sound of his 2007 self-recorded debut, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted: “There was an atmospheric quality to my last two records; those albums are like a garden of sounds,” says Amidon, “but this one is more of a journey, a winding path. The band comes rushing in and then they disappear. It comes from more of a darker, internal space.”

A longtime admirer of Boys’ work, Amidon was particularly enamored of his recordings with Martin Carthy in the 1970s, as well as the Ali Farka Touré/Toumani Diabaté duet albums on World Circuit/Nonesuch: “Those are so beautiful. I listened to all of that. I loved the sense of documentation, the unadorned quality. Everything sounded so clear.”

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, Bright Sunny South features interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs, including Tim McGraw’s “My Old Friend” and Mariah Carey’s “Shake It Off.” The record also includes a version of “Weeping Mary,” a shape-note hymn that his parents, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, had recorded with the Vermont-based Word of Mouth Chorus for Nonesuch Records on the 1977 disc Rivers of Delight: American Folk Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition

Bright Sunny South follows 2010’s critically acclaimed I See the Sign, which earned Amidon praise from SPIN for his “quirky alchemy…contrasting pretty sounds with violent lyrical undercurrents” and Pitchfork, which said, “[Amidon’s] interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”

Prior to I See the Sign, which was released on the Iceland-based label Bedroom Community, Amidon released But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted (Plug Research, 2007) and All Is Well (Bedroom Community, 2008). In addition to his solo albums, Amidon has collaborated on performances pieces with musical polymath Nico Muhly, toured as part of Thomas Bartlett’s group Doveman and the Brooklyn band Stars Like Fleas, collaborated with Beth Orton, and embarked on a series of live shows with the guitarist Bill Frisell.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Sam Amidon, Jerry Boys, and Thomas Bartlett
Engineered and Mixed by Jerry Boys
Recorded at Snap Recording Studios and Livingston Studios, London
“Weeping Mary” Engineered by Patrick Dillett at No Fat Studios, New York, NY
Violin and bass on “Streets of Derry” Recorded by Tyler Gibbons at Red Heart Studios, Marlboro, VT
Assistant Engineers: Ben Mclusky at Snap; Sonny at Livingston

All songs are traditional, reworked & arranged by Sam Amidon, except track 4 written by McEwan/Wiseman, arranged by Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett; track 8 by Cox/Carey/Austin/Dupri, arranged by Sam Amidon; track 11 by McCurry/Power, arranged by Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett

Design by John Gall

Executive Producer: David Bither

Nonesuch Selection Number

530858

Number of Discs in Set
1disc
Album Status
Artist Name
Sam Amidon
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Sam Amidon, sing, banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar; piano (8)
Thomas Bartlett, piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Moog synthesizer; percussion & electric guitar (11)
Shahzad Ismaily, electric & acoustic guitars, electric bass, Moog bass; drums (2); shaker egg (7)
Chris Vatalaro: drums & percussion; flute (6); a taste of the Wurli (2)

Kenny Wheeler, trumpet (2, 5)
Doug Wieselman, clarinets (11)
Tyler Gibbons, electric bass (10)

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
CD+MP3
UPC
075597961942BUN
Label
MP3
Price
8.00
UPC
075597961935
Label
FLAC
Price
9.00
UPC
075597950816
  • 530858

News & Reviews

  • Sam Amidon is the guest on the latest episode of the Suzie Explores podcast hosted by violinist Suzie Collier. The two discuss approaching one's work with a beginner's mind, being open to new influences, and catching the creative spark when it hits. Amidon also talks about his lifelong connection to the fiddle and his lifelong friendship with musician and producer Thomas Bartlett. You can hear the conversation here.

  • Sam Amidon kicks off a tour of North America in a performance of Nico Muhly’s The Only Tune with members of the Oregon Symphony, led by Jeffrey Kahane, in Beaverton, Oregon, on Friday. Timo Andres performs on the program as well, which is hosted by Gabriel Kahane. Amidon then continues through the Pacific Northwest with shows in Seattle, Vancouver (with special guest Joachim Cooder), and Portland, before heading to the East Coast in support of The Weather Station in Philadelphia, DC, Brooklyn, and Boston. 

  • About This Album

    Nonesuch Records released Sam Amidon’s label debut, Bright Sunny South, on May 14, 2013. Produced by Amidon with his childhood friend and longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and legendary English engineer Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club, Vashti Bunyan, R.E.M.) and recorded in London, the record features a band made up of Bartlett and multi-instrumentalists Shahzad Ismaily and Chris Vatalaro. Jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also makes a cameo. Amidon himself not only sings but also plays banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album.

    Amidon describes Bright Sunny South as a “a lonesome record” and a return to the more spare sound of his 2007 self-recorded debut, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted: “There was an atmospheric quality to my last two records; those albums are like a garden of sounds,” says Amidon, “but this one is more of a journey, a winding path. The band comes rushing in and then they disappear. It comes from more of a darker, internal space.”

    A longtime admirer of Boys’ work, Amidon was particularly enamored of his recordings with Martin Carthy in the 1970s, as well as the Ali Farka Touré/Toumani Diabaté duet albums on World Circuit/Nonesuch: “Those are so beautiful. I listened to all of that. I loved the sense of documentation, the unadorned quality. Everything sounded so clear.”

    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, Bright Sunny South features interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs, including Tim McGraw’s “My Old Friend” and Mariah Carey’s “Shake It Off.” The record also includes a version of “Weeping Mary,” a shape-note hymn that his parents, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, had recorded with the Vermont-based Word of Mouth Chorus for Nonesuch Records on the 1977 disc Rivers of Delight: American Folk Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition

    Bright Sunny South follows 2010’s critically acclaimed I See the Sign, which earned Amidon praise from SPIN for his “quirky alchemy…contrasting pretty sounds with violent lyrical undercurrents” and Pitchfork, which said, “[Amidon’s] interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”

    Prior to I See the Sign, which was released on the Iceland-based label Bedroom Community, Amidon released But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted (Plug Research, 2007) and All Is Well (Bedroom Community, 2008). In addition to his solo albums, Amidon has collaborated on performances pieces with musical polymath Nico Muhly, toured as part of Thomas Bartlett’s group Doveman and the Brooklyn band Stars Like Fleas, collaborated with Beth Orton, and embarked on a series of live shows with the guitarist Bill Frisell.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Sam Amidon, sing, banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar; piano (8)
    Thomas Bartlett, piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Moog synthesizer; percussion & electric guitar (11)
    Shahzad Ismaily, electric & acoustic guitars, electric bass, Moog bass; drums (2); shaker egg (7)
    Chris Vatalaro: drums & percussion; flute (6); a taste of the Wurli (2)

    Kenny Wheeler, trumpet (2, 5)
    Doug Wieselman, clarinets (11)
    Tyler Gibbons, electric bass (10)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Sam Amidon, Jerry Boys, and Thomas Bartlett
    Engineered and Mixed by Jerry Boys
    Recorded at Snap Recording Studios and Livingston Studios, London
    “Weeping Mary” Engineered by Patrick Dillett at No Fat Studios, New York, NY
    Violin and bass on “Streets of Derry” Recorded by Tyler Gibbons at Red Heart Studios, Marlboro, VT
    Assistant Engineers: Ben Mclusky at Snap; Sonny at Livingston

    All songs are traditional, reworked & arranged by Sam Amidon, except track 4 written by McEwan/Wiseman, arranged by Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett; track 8 by Cox/Carey/Austin/Dupri, arranged by Sam Amidon; track 11 by McCurry/Power, arranged by Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett

    Design by John Gall

    Executive Producer: David Bither