Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Sam Amidon - I See the Sign (* * * *)

Given the unusual way in which Sam Amidon approached his first two albums, you might expect him to either be relegated to the smallest of niche markets or to feel pressure to write a record using more conventional methods. Instead, the young folk musician has found his unique songcraft to be quite sustainable, and he's garnered increased acclaim over the past few years—especially with 2008’s lovely All Is Well. Of course, Amidon isn’t the first person to take traditional folk tunes and reinterpret them with a personal twist, but the obscurity of his chosen songs and the lengths to which he goes to make them his own labels him as a genuinely fascinating artist. His third effort, I See the Sign, is once again a collection of covers, though as is par for the course, it’s unlikely (with but one notable exception) that you’ve heard them before—and with his often dramatic rearrangements, it would hardly matter if you had. The new record isn’t necessarily better than its predecessor, but the growth Amidon shows here in the complexity of his arrangements and in the confidence of his presentation make it his most compelling to date. (Read the rest @ In Review Online)