The Following Mountain represents a new approach for Sam Amidon, who shifts here from his previous norm of re-working traditional folk songs and presents nine wholly original compositions, with some lyrics drawing on traditional sources. The album was created with producer Leo Abrahams and frequent Amidon collaborator Shahzad Ismaily, with a rare guest appearance by drummer Milford Graves.
The Following Mountain, the newest solo album by experimental folk artist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon, will be released May 26, 2017, on Nonesuch Records. Created with producer Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Regina Spektor) and Amidon's frequent collaborator Shahzad Ismaily, it represents a new approach for Amidon, who shifts here from his previous norm of re-working traditional folk songs and presents nine wholly original compositions, with some lyrics drawing on traditional sources. The album features a rare guest appearance by drummer Milford Graves, known initially for his work in the 1960s with free jazz legends Albert Ayler and Sonny Sharrock.
The Following Mountain was made during two distinct recording sessions: an initial weekend in Brooklyn where Ismaily and Amidon brought in Graves, percussionist Juma Sultan (Jimi Hendrix), and saxophonist Sam Gendel for a heavily improvised session; followed by time in the studio over the summer in London, where Amidon worked with Leo Abrahams to shape and develop the songs.
"The Following Mountain is a walk through the thickets of the imagination," Amidon said, "a personal mythology of sounds and visions and characters. It is my first album of original music, but is still linked to the Appalachian music I love, as well as improvisation, beats, Don Cherry, Vermont, London."
The Following Mountain is Amidon's sixth album and follows Lily-O, his 2014 Nonesuch Records collaboration with guitarist Bill Frisell.
Produced by Leo Abrahams
except for “April,” produced by Shahzad Ismaily, and “Another Story Told,” produced by Shahzad and Leo
Engineered by Leo Abrahams in London, except for “April,” engineered by Sam Owens at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn
Additional engineering by Shahzad Ismaily and Adam Hirsch at Figure 8, Brett Shaw and Leo Abrahams at 123 Studios in London, and John Spiker at Studio Supreme in Los Angeles
Mixed by Leo Abrahams
Mastered by Guy Davies at Electric Mastering
Drawings by Sam Amidon
Design & painting by Ben Tousley
All songs composed by Sam Amidon
The lyric for “Blackbird” is traditional; “Trouble in Mind” contains elements of the traditional Kentucky fiddle tune “Trouble on My Mind,” as learned from guru Bruce Greene; “Warren” contains lyrics from the 17th-century poem “Sleep Downy Sleep”
Executive Producer: David Bither
Sam Amidon, vocals (1–9), acoustic guitars (1, 3–5, 7–9), violins (2–4), electric guitars (3, 7), banjo (6, 9), fiddle (7, 9), saxophone triggering (8)
Chris Vatalaro, drums (1, 3–8), percussion (1), piano (1), flutes (5)
Milford Graves, drums (2, 8, 9)
Leo Abrahams, drum processing (2), synth bass (3), synthesizers (3–7), programming (3), electric bass (5, 8), Moog synthesizer (5, 8), accordion (6), drum loop & programming (7, 8), Moog bass (7), sampling (8)
Juma Sultan, percussion (3)
Sam Gendel, saxophone breathing (3), alto saxophone (5, 9), sampled saxophone (8)
Shahzad Ismaily, percussion (3), electric bass (3, 7–9), beat programming (4), electric guitar (4), Hammond organ (7), Moog Rogue (9)