Sam Amidon’s new set of “reimagined folk songs” is a compellingly quiet, intense affair that is remarkable both for the power of his understated, no-nonsense and often mournful vocals, and for the subtle arrangements that bring an urgency to his mostly traditional American songs and hymns. His last album, Bright Sunny South, featured jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, but he is joined here by adventurous guitarist Bill Frisell, whose past experiments have ranged from jazz to Malian fusion. The title track starts with Amidon singing unaccompanied, but as the murder story develops, Frisell moves in with thoughtful and edgy electric-guitar improvisation, driven on by bass and drums. Elsewhere, Amidon shows off his rousing banjo and fiddle work on Walkin’ Boss, while Frisell adds wailing improvisation to Down the Line and suitably delicate colourings to pained lament Your Lone Journey. Subtle and intriguing.
Sam Amidon: Lily-O review – subtle and intriguing
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop