Bedroom Community

Sam Amidon

Born in 1981 and raised in Vermont by folk-musician parents, Sam Amidon sings and plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar. As a teenager, Amidon rose to acclaim as a fiddler, releasing five albums with his band Popcorn Behavior. A musician who glides through unlikely set of genres from traditional folk to free jazz, Amidon has released four solo albums, and also plays in the New York-based indie-rock bands Doveman and Stars Like Fleas. After a seven-year stint in New York City, Amidon has been fully itinerant since 2008 as he tours and collaborates with a roster of renowned musicians, including Shahzad Ismaily, Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Ben Frost, and Valgeir Sigurðsson.

His second solo album of songs, But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted was a collaboration with Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman). Amidon quickly followed this with his second album, All Is Well, released by Bedroom Community in 2008. All Is Well was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson, with orchestral arrangements by Nico Muhly and contributions from Stefan Amidon, Ben Frost, Eyvind Kang, and Aaron Siegel. In 2009, Amidon debuted Muhly's reworked folk composition “The Only Tune” at Carnegie Hall, a composition also appearing on Muhly's 2009 Bedroom Community album Mothertongue. Amidon also released the 2009 LP Fiddle and Drum, featuring free improvisation with Siegel.

On Amidon's new release, I See The Sign, he works with old-time melodies and lyrics as a starting point for creating atmosphere. His long-time collaborator, Shahzad Ismaily – a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has worked with a diverse range of musicians including Laurie Anderson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Jolie Holland, Rage Against the Machine, Lou Reed, and Tom Waits – proved foundational to the creation of I See The Sign. The album features three childrens singing games popularized by Georgia Sea Islands songstress Bessie Jones, recomposed by Amidon to expose maturity and unease. Each of Amidon's albums has shone with the care and support offered by his collaborators, and never is this clearer than on the sweeping epic of I See The Sign.

Amidon draws comics and makes videos. His work has shown in the galleries Kuhturm in Leipzig, Audio Visual Arts in New York City, and in a multimedia performance at New York's Museum of Art and Design.

What the press says

 Sam Amidon sees no difference between a 19th-century folk ballad and a 21st-century avant-garde instrumental suite. In bridging the very old and the very new... he has managed to meld the rural and the urban, the organic and the synthetic, the oral tradition and the written score  

Stephen M. Deusner — Pitchfork (January 6th 2010) Read all reviews

"Sam Amidon reinvents public-domain songs (plus one modern-day ringer) as rustic mood music for watching distant super-novas explode. But the results have none of the musty aftertaste such a description implies, contrasting pretty sounds with violent lyrical undercurrents."

Spin Magazine (March 2nd 2010) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

“The combination of artists on this album deliver such an intense experience and I can’t help but be fascinated by it all. I’m quite in awe to be honest, and I use such words very sparingly when I talk about music. This is certainly his best work to date.”

Folk Radio (March 17th 2010) Read all reviews

 Amidon - with Sigurdsson, Muhly, multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and on Beth Orton - brings a heightened reality and off-register colour to these black-and-white broadsides.  

Andrew Male — MOJO (March 18th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

[These performances] are passively beautiful, combed-over, thought-out, and then re-remembered fondly, wistfully... Yet that passivity is the key to the earnest openness that makes Amidon’s new album transcend.

Dan Weiss — Crawdaddy Magazine (March 18th 2010) Read all reviews

 I’ll keep it short, because the more time you spend reading this, the less time you have to listen to Sam Amidon’s new album, I See The Sign, and it would really be a shame if you didn’t spend the next occasion you find yourself alone in the company of these friendly, forgiving, firelit songs.  

 

Lauren Strain — Drownedinsound (April 19th 2010) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

 Two and a Half Questions with Sam Amidon  

 

Josh Atkin — Headphonecommute ITV (April 20th 2010) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

 Sam Amidon’s music is bigger and better than any retrospective reworkings. For this is contemporary music, providing an outlet for forgotten sounds and breathing oxygen into new creations.  

 

Josh Atkin — HeadphoneCommute (April 20th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

 I See the Sign ... his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) these songs existed before—all that matters is how they exist now.  

 

Amanda Petrusich — Pitchfork (April 21st 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...Amidon’s instincts and talents as a musical conservationist, interpreter, and reanimator are to be wholly trusted and cherished.

All Music (May 30th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

“this IS an epochal masterpiece – placing it side by side with the finest albums of the last four decades”

Massimo Ricci — Touching Extremes (June 28th 2010) Read all reviews

As with ‘All Is Well’, there are arrangements here that take your breath away…....this album is another complete success for the most interesting and promising folk musician in North America today

Ian Mathers — PopMatters (December 17th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

With All Is Well, Sam Amidon has crafted a precious gem of a record, all in nuances and shades, with delicate overtones and airy harmonies. Sigurðsson’s production is light and subtle yet it gives these songs fantastic depth and contrast without ever overshadowing Amidon’s delivery.

themilkman — The Milk Factory (October 17th 2007) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"sky-scrapingly great ... All Is Well is viscerally stunning, comforting, upsetting, entrancing; as long as he can make art like this, Amidon can skip the formality of 'writing songs' forever"

Ian Mathers — Stylus Magazine (October 30th 2007) Read all reviews

...a very pleasant modern folk album filled with interpretations of older public domain standards.

All Music (November 1st 2007) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"A veritable classic, a standard for comparisons in this genre from now on. Not to be missed."

Touching Extremes (November 11th 2007) Read all reviews

"Nothing less than a goose-bump-manufacturing sonic piéce de résistance"

Kathleen Wilcox — CMJ New Music Monthly (February 1st 2008) Read all reviews

 All Is Well a very forward-thinking album, despite its reliance on traditional tunes. With his team of musicians working so closely together, Amidon doesn't just update the old world to the new, but finds the roots of the new world in the old.  

Stephen M. Deusner — Pitchfork (February 8th 2008) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

"In an era of overheated Nick Drake comparisons, Amidon is eerily close to the real thing, singing in a fragile but certain tenor against the deep breath and soft sweep of Nico Muhly’s orchestrations."

David Fricke — Rolling Stone Magazine (February 28th 2008) Read all reviews

Media

Previous
Next

Everything Everywhere All The Time - Trailer

This is a trailer for the Bedroom Community film Everything Everywhere All The Time.
With Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Also featuring Nadia Sirota.
Directed by Pierre-Alain Giraud.

Sam Amidon - How Come That Blood (live)

A live performance of Sam Amidon’s How Come That Blood. Footage shot in Brussels on the Bedroom Community’s Whale Watching Tour. Also featured in this piece are Ben Frost, Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Shot and edited by Pierre-Alain Giraud and Stuart Rogers.

Whale Watching 2010 Tour Trailer

Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson return with this wondrous concert-series through Europe, starting at Berlin’s Admiralspalast on the 18th April and ending in The National Theater in Reykjavík on 16th May. Also featuring Nadia Sirota.

Video by Pierre-Alain Giraud & Stuart Rogers.

Ben Frost - Híbakúsja

Performed during the Whale Watching Tour 2009, Brussels.
With Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurðsson. Also featuring Nadia Sirota.
Video by Pierre-Alain Giraud & Stuart Rogers.

Draumalandið (Dreamland) Music Examples

Here are a few music examples from Draumalandið (Dreamland), a documentary about the exploitation of Iceland’s natural resources, tells a story about huge things—the fortunes of a whole nation; the destruction of vast landscapes; and the global economic forces, greater still than any nation, that fuel it all—and for his soundtrack to the film, Valgeir has brought out a heavier set of tools. His entire roster of Bedroom Community labelmates contributes in some way to the creation of the score: classical composers Nico Muhly and Daníel Bjarnason, industrial wizard Ben Frost, and American folksinger Sam Amidon, along with a host of others, and the small orchestra assembled for the record swells from moments of expansive beauty into massive, surging symphonic force. Its harmonies are anxious, pulsing, driven.

Valgeir Sigurðsson - Past Tundra

Whale Watching Tour 2009 in Leipzig.
Valgeir Sigurðsson with Sam Amidon, Ben Frost and Nico Muhly.
Also featuring Nadia Sirota.
Video by Stuart Rogers and Pierre-Alain Giraud.

Whale Watching Tour 2009

Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson. Also featuring Nadia Sirota.
European tour November 2009.
Video by Pierre-Alain Giraud and Stuart Rogers.

Sam Amidon - Wedding Dress

A video from director Sigga Sunna Reynisdóttir using puppets and stop-motion animation.
From Sam Amidon’s album “All Is Well”.

Sam Amidon - Saro

‘Saro’ from the Sam Amidon album ‘All Is Well’ released on Bedroom Community 2008. Video by Jeremy Blatter.

Hi-res photo

Latest News

Discography

I See The Sign
Released on 19 April 2010
Order now

All is Well
Released on 22 October 2007
Order now

Mailing List

If you would like to receive news from Bedroom Community, please enter your e-mail address in the box below and press OK.

        

Upcoming events

On the web

  • Find out more on Sam Amidon’s website
  • Visit Sam Amidon’s page on MySpace
  • Check out Sam Amidon’s page on Facebook
  • Follow Sam Amidon on Twitter
Listen in Pop-out player