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Sam Amidon

USA

Idiosyncratic troubadour reimagining the past

Sam Amidon is most definitely a one-off, a singer-songwriter with a unique take on his art. Often found with banjo strapped over shoulder, Sam–the son of folk musician/puppeteer parents –has always been immersed in the sounds of the early 20th-century folk arts. But this is no stuck-in-amber, vintage clothes-wearing revivalist. His work –such as 2019’s Fatal Flower Garden, inspired by Harry Smith’s legendary Anthology of American Folk Music–are reimaginings filtered through contemporary eyes. He also writes original material too, what he calls “walks through the thickets of the imagination”. To aid him over the years, Sam has collaborated with a range of exemplary musicians, among them Bon Iver, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Tune-Yards and the Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as his wife, the singer-songwriter Beth Orton. According to National Public Radio, Sam’s fine body of work “opens a window of the American past and lets us feel it like nothing else around”.