Sam Amidon – I see The Sign – a review

Sam Amidon
I See the Sign
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Label: Bedroom Community


I See the Sign, released on March 28th 2010, will be Sam Amidon’s his fourth album and in my opinion he just gets better and better. I have listened to his previous albums more out of curiosity (he supported Beth Orton on her recent gigs UK and stateside ) but this album has me hooked and I have found myself revisiting his previous work with a renewed enthusiasm. Beth contributes vocals on four tracks and guitar on ‘Johanna The Row-di’. I am sure that some must have been wondering how Sam’s and Beths, both very unique, vocal styles would work together. Complimentary is the best way to describe the result.

All songs are mostly traditional folk songs recomposed by Sam and feature contributions from Beth Orton, Nico Muhly, Shahzad Ismaily and Valgeir Sigurðsson. Oh and interestingly there is an inclusion of a reworked version of an unreleased R Kelly track – ‘Relief’. Every track is enjoyable but some are truly beautiful to listen to and take you through differing emotions, highs, lows and little inbetween.

The album starts strong with bass and violins drifting in and out on the opening track ‘How Come That Blood’. This is followed by one of the stand out tracks for me – ‘Way Go, Lily’ – some will compare the subdued vocals to Nick Drake – more a compliment than a criticism, simple guitar melodies done beautifully and layered with orchestral instruments creating a more than adequate highlight. This one immediately had me begging for more, if you want to hear a track that will make you want to listen to the rest of the album, this is probably it.

‘You Better Mind’ is very much folk single – deep vocals harmonised by the soulful vocals of Beth Orton as the catchy guitar keeps the song steady and violins slowly rise up to take over you. ‘Rain And Snow’ may be more familiar to some as ‘Cold Rain & Snow’ recorded by The Grateful Dead although its origins can be traced back to 1916!. The title tells you what to expect – slow and haunting, the vocals sending shivers up your spine.

‘Climbing High Mountains’, another standout track, very simple but very catchy. Not having listened to much of R Kelly I wasn’t sure what to expect from ‘Relief’ – a beautiful piece of music, uplifting and very melodic  ‘I’m alright , you’re alright , let’s celebrate’ Indeed.

OK so I am not a professional music critic and but I know what I like –  What are you waiting for? – Buy it!! (well pre order)

01 How Come That Blood
02 Way Go Lily
03 You Better Mind
04 I See the Sign
05 Johanna the Row-di
06 Pretty Fair Damsel
07 Kedron
08 Rain and Snow
09 Climbing High Mountains
10 Relief
11 Red

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