"WHAT DISTINGUISHES Sam Amidon from the pack of folk revivalists currently enamoured with pre-rock Americana: He not only has an impressively deep knowledge of traditional song forms, but takes liberties with the country's past in order to document his own personal present.”
So said Pitchfork about the American singer-songwriter Sam Amidon who plays Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday September 17 at 8pm. Further praise has come from the Daily Telegraph, which said he "makes ancient songs sound contemporary" through "washes of lateral jazz and startling flourishes of experimental rock”.
Music is embedded deep in Amidon's life. His wife is fellow singer-songwriter Beth Orton, while his parents, Peter and Mary Alice , perform and teach traditional forms of song, dance and storytelling; his brother Stefan plays drums with the Sweetback Sisters. Amidon began adding to the family discography in 2001 when he released Solo Fiddle, an album of traditional Irish tunes. Subsequent albums have included collaborations with childhood friend Thomas Bartlett on But This Chicken Proved False Hearted (2007 ), and composer Nico Muhly on All Is Well (2008 ) and I See the Sign (2010 ). Lily-O (2014 ) consists of songs built around Amidon’s music, with lyrics mined from obscure folk songs, some traditional and some contemporary.
The Vermont-born singer, guitarist, fiddler, and banjo player describes his approach to music making as "a collage process”. He also does not regard himself as a songwriter in the traditional sense. “I love good lyrics and good poetry, but the whole idea of being a singer-songwriter, where you’re supposed to write lyrics and then write chords, that feels very arbitrary," Amidon says, preferring instead to select lyrics to fit guitar parts or melodies in pursuit of a certain mood.
Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.