Archive for July 21st, 2010

Sam Amidon: How Come That Blood

Sometimes the most obvious comparisons make the most sense. Such is the case with Sam Amidon, whose latest album is part of what some are calling a “folk revival.” Amidon is undeniably reminiscent of Nick Drake — same simple but expressive voice, adeptly plucked guitar (Amidon plays the banjo quite well also) and talent for tugging at the listener’s heart, both with melancholy and melody. He possesses the same eloquence and subtlety of another talented singer-songwriter — Jose Gonzalez.

But these comparisons are merely an effort to draw the listener’s interest. Within 30 seconds of album opener “How Come That Blood,” Amidon should have your full attention. It’s a track that feels like it could’ve been scored by The Books, and the magic continues throughout I See The Sign. Lovely orchestral flourishes and gripping piano accompaniment are a part of the remarkable mix here. Amidon’s voice does not sound manipulated in any way: the listener hears every strain and crack of the Vermont native’s charming singing. And that might be why comparisons fall flat — Amidon lays himself bare on I See The Sign, and the album is undeniably his. I am delighted to pass his music on to you, TWJ readers.

Oh yes, and Amidon’s entire family is musical. His mother and father are both folk musicians; his brother is a drummer for The Sweetbacks. And the album features contributions from the likes of Beth Orton and Nico Muhly, among others.

[Buy the album here]

How Come That Blood” By Sam Amidon (From I See The Sign, out now on Bedroom Community)

Pretty Fair Damsel” By Sam Amidon (From I See The Sign, out now on Bedroom Community)

Matt’s Sonic Stew #7 also featured a song and video by Amidon

–Sean

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David Karsten Daniels & Fight The Big Bull: The Funeral Bell

David Karsten Daniels is a gifted songwriter, composer and performer currently residing in San Francisco. His latest batch of tunes, with an accompanying nine-piece jazz ensemble from Richmond, Virgina, puts 10 of transcendental author Henry David Thoreau’s poems to compositions that Daniels and Fight The Big Bull pieced together by mailing back and forth with one another. The lyrics are adapted from Thoreau’s verse; the music is eclectic and rich, moving from sparse arrangements that bring Karstens’ vocals to the spotlight to lush and sometimes noisily overcrowded pieces that are more experienced than enjoyed.

The result of this interesting and ambitious project are really a joy to listen to. From the muted trumpet wails and high-hat drums to the simple strummed acoustic guitars, each track blends together and yet every one could stand on its own as well. Karstens vocals add character to the already-rich instrumentation, and the blend is really something to behold. Here are a couple of standout tracks, but we recommend soaking in the album as a whole.

[Buy the album here]

The Funeral Bell” By David Karsten Daniels & Fight the Big Bull (From I Mean to Still Live Here, out now on Fat Cat)

On Fields” By David Karsten Daniels & Fight the Big Bull (From I Mean to Still Live Here, out now on Fat Cat)

–Sean

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