Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for I See The Sign

Sam Amidon, born Samuel Tear, has folk music heritage. His ancestors were involved in the upbringings of Appalachian folk, and it continues to serve as a familial passion with an inception that has no bearing on age. Amidon first picked up a fiddle at the age of three and has not looked back since, writing songs before he could properly spell and playing with the big boys before he could drink. Perhaps the most notable among his many collaborations is his work with Doveman, the main songwriting vehicle for longtime friend and collaborator Thomas Bartlett. In this project, Amidon would showcase his talents on guitar and banjo specifically. Considering that a bulk of Doveman’s recordings are atmospheric and instrumental, his role was never conventional in the sense of contemporary folk music. Like old-time Appalachian folk, the music was rarely heralded by extraneous filler. If anything ever trumped the intricacy of the arrangements or thematic context, it was a strong narrative presence indebted to the lyrical prowess of the performer. Amidon would co-write a few songs for it, but at its heart Doveman showcased the presence of Bartlett (mainly because he sang and wrote all the songs). Amidon would never knock a listener down with awe-inspiring solos or precision, but it was difficult to ignore his additions. Bartlett clearly appreciated Amidon’s genuine additions as well, making the role reversal of sorts today appear seamless to all parties.

Amidon has a few recordings out there dating back to the late ’90s, but his first foray into a solo career did not come until 2007’s But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted. This album and its follow-up less than year later, All Is Well, earned acclaim for its creative interpretation of traditional folk classics. Bartlett’s work with Doveman was more fixated on atmospheric indie-rock and dream-pop, so Amidon’s preference of traditional folk exemplified how great collaboration can occur even when the collaborators have differing stylistic preferences. Working chemistry has too many variables to define and predict, and this is a fine example of that. This is certainly presented well on Amidon’s third full-length I See the Sign, where he has finally combined his fascination with both old-time Appalachian folk and contemporary indie-pop into a fusion worth boasting about. Amidon’s
familiarity with the former genre is practically a natural reflex by now, and this is how he expertly infused traditional folk into Bartlett’s sound via Doveman. Guests like Bartlett, Beth Orton, and Eyvind Kang help Amidon complete his vision to fruition. The result, produced exceptionally by Valgeir Sigurdsson, is a continuation of the presentation of his previous
two albums, except this time it sounds more refined and uniquely presented rather than serve as a collection of covers (regardless of how great they may be).

Mike Mineo

Obscure Sound (March 23rd 2010)

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I See The Sign
Released on 19 April 2010
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All is Well
Released on 22 October 2007
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On the web

  • Find out more on Sam Amidon’s website
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