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Sam Amidon was born and raised in Brattleboro, Vermont by folk musicians Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. He has released three albums of radically re-worked folksongs: “But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted,” recorded at his then-home of Harlem in 2006 with Thomas Bartlett; followed by “All Is Well” in 2008 and “I See The Sign” in 2010, both recorded in Iceland with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Sam sings, plays banjo and guitar and fiddle, draws comics and makes little video-stories, and can type at 120 words per minute. He’s typing this bio right now, virtually at the speed of thought. Later, somebody will edit it.
Sam started on fiddle at the age of three and by eleven had formed a band called Popcorn Behavior, with childhood friend Thomas Bartlett and younger brother Stefan, to play New England fiddle tunes. They toured internationally, gathering attention from NPR, CNN and The Boston Globe and releasing five albums by the time they graduated from pretend high school which they did not really go to (at the time it was called “homeschooling”). His first solo album, released in 2001, was a collection of traditional Irish fiddle tunes, simply titled “Solo Fiddle.”
By 17, Sam had taken up the banjo and fallen in love with free jazz, Miles Davis, early indie rock, drone minimalism, mountain ballads and Buster Keaton films. But it wasn’t until he moved to New York City in 2002 that he began to play and experience first-hand all of these other kinds of things. Since then he has collaborated with a myriad of artists including Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Beth Orton, Shahzad Ismaily, Glen Hansard, and Bill Frisell.
Sam’s folksong albums have received wide acclaim and have pulled many a soul back from the brink… his itinerant wanderings have taken him to far-off lands… and his solo performances have taken on a life and tenor of their own. Sam’s drawn comics and enigmatic home-made videos, the “self-inflicted field recordings” resulting from these internal and external journeys, have resulted in exhibitions at the Tony Shafrazi and Audio Visual Arts galleries in New York City, and the Gallery Kuhturm in Leipzig. His audio-visual show/comics lecture “Home Alone Inside My Head” was premiered at NYC’s The Kitchen in November 2010.
Sam, currently London-based, will be releasing his next record of songs this year. After reading a bunch of Henry James, Sam is now hard at work writing his own “pretend novel,” called King Speechy, to be released by Penguin Classics in 2051 u feel me.
“It’s official. Sam Amidon has burnt everything to the ground. It smells good, now that the rain has come. I can see the tips of blades rising.” – Justin Vernon
“his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) these songs existed before– all that matters is how they exist now.” – Pitchfork
“In an era of overheated Nick Drake comparisons, Amidon is eerily close to the real thing.” – David Fricke, Rolling Stone