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Putting on a singer-songwritery type record you never know whether it will be another bland piece of rubbish or something that you will enjoy and connect with. Thankfully this record by Sam Amidon veers very much towards the latter. He does nothing special, nothing so innovative you will never heard it before, but in this collection of interpretations of traditional songs (and the obligatory Mariah Carey cover) he proves his worth as an emerging competitor to the likes of Jose Gonzales, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callahan and their pastoral like.
He has a neat fingerpicked style of guitar playing over which is added subtle keyboard, the odd violin and trumpet. It’s all about delivery though and keeping the listener on tenterhooks, the best example being ‘Short Life’ which marries lovely Jose Gonzalez-style picked guitar, ‘Straight Story’ soundtrack-like viola and a vocal which chillingly almost exactly recalls that of the late Jason Molina in his pomp. The music is mostly kept stripped back yet the marriage of the carefully plucked guitars and Amidon’s folky vocals produces a set of intimate, atmospheric songs, even the Mariah Carey track fits in fine with its disjointed piano and hesitant vocal. Lovely windswept folk music.
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