About This Event
Doors Open:6:30 PM
Show Time:7:30 PM
Sam Amidon returns to New York City to perform with a super special & most powerful Album Release concert at Le Poisson Rouge on May 16. He will be celebrating his Nonesuch debut, “Bright Sunny South,” which is released on May 14. He will be joined by the multi-instrumentalist band of clandestine itinerants with whom he recorded the album (Thomas Bartlett, Shahzad Ismaily, Chris Vatalaro) as well as certain top-secret & special guests. This is his first full-scale band performance in New York City since the release of his previous album I See The Sign in 2010, although he has recently graced NYC stages as part of Doveman’s Burgundy Stain sessions, in duo with Bill Frisell, and in collaboration with Nico Muhly, Beth Orton and others. He can’t wait. Check it-
TABLE SEATING POLICY
Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All tickets sales are final. No refund or credits.
This event will be streamed live online through LPR’s streaming channel, beginning at 7:30pm.
Bright Sunny South, Sam Amidon’s Nonesuch debut is, he admits, “a lonesome record.” Despite its often elegiac, solitary feel, this is a work borne out of friendship and intensive collaboration, recorded in London with a small coterie of virtuosic multi-instrumental players: Thomas Bartlett, Shahzad Ismaily, and Chris Vatalaro. The folk songs, shape-note hymns, and country ballads that Amidon performs deal on the surface with the darkest, most fundamental of issues—the specter of death, the looming clouds of war, unquenchable longing, unrequited love. Yet there is beauty and comfort in these time-tested words and well-worn melodies and in Amidon’s simple, emotionally direct delivery of these songs, as captured here on tape by the legendary English recording engineer Jerry Boys.
The Vermont-born and raised, London-based Amidon’s particular gift is not to compose new songs, but to rework and repurpose traditional melodies into a striking new form that makes them feel very much his own. He delivers these songs in a hauntingly plainspoken voice, one that encompasses sadness and stoicism, vulnerability and wisdom. As Pitchfork has said, “his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”
Bright Sunny South is Amidon’s fourth disc in six years and is close in spirit, he feels, to his spare 2007 debut effort, the homemade But This Chicken Proved Falsehearted, in which he and fledgling producer Bartlett, recording under the group name samamidon, learned as they rolled tape: “It was very much a process of discovery for the both of us. At that point, the final take was the one where I was able to get all the way through without messing the guitar part up.” He recorded two subsequent albums with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson for the Iceland-based Bedroom Community label, All Is Well and I See the Sign, in which fellow New England native and frequent collaborator Nico Muhly contributed adventurous orchestral arrangements that artfully counterbalanced Amidon’s stark delivery.
As Amidon reflects, Bright Sunny South “went a little bit back to that interior space, the solitude of the songs of Falsehearted. There was an atmospheric quality to the last two records on Bedroom Community; the albums are like this garden of sounds. But this one is more of a journey, a winding path. The band comes rushing in and then they disappear. It comes from more of a darker, internal space.”
He sought out Jerry Boys, whose lengthy resume includes classic work in the 1970s recording English folk legends Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, and Steeleye Span. Explains Amidon, “I love especially those albums with Martin Carthy. And then in the ’90s, Jerry started doing world music stuff, like Buena Vista Social Club. More importantly for me, he did the Ali Farke Touré/Toumani Diabaté duet records. Those are so beautiful. I listened to all of that. I loved that sense of documentation, the unadorned quality. Everything sounded so clear.” He joined Boys at London’s Livingston and then SNAP studios: “I went in for a couple days and put down versions of songs totally solo because I wanted that to be a starting place. Then Thomas and Shahzad and Chris came and we had four days together, mostly playing live, no click tracks. Sometimes we would all play live, sometimes we would overdub over the solo versions I had recorded. It was an intense time, definitely not relaxed—but in a good way, I feel, because the intensity is part of the music.”
The sessions, though brief, were exploratory and adventurous, with no set role for any of these players: “It was a kind of charged atmosphere because we hadn’t done something in a room all together before, and each of them had specific ideas of how to play in a duo setting with me. They all play everything; all three are multi-instrumentalists. We had to decide who was going to jump on what instrument at any given moment.”
Sam has appeared at experimental venues like Chelsea’s The Kitchen, collaborated on performances pieces with musical polymath Nico Muhly, and toured as part of Bartlett’s group Doveman. Most recently, he embarked on a series of live shows with the similar-minded guitarist Bill Frisell.
“I moved to New York to get away from folk music and to start playing the music that I was listening to. To try improvising, to play in rock bands, whatever… and now what I do largely is these folk tunes. I guess, partly, that singing these songs was just comforting. You’re new to New York, you’re singing these lonesome tunes, it feels good. But, at the same time, you have to pay attention to what people respond to. You have to find what’s meaningful to you, and you find out what that is by being with friends. I found that this is what I could bring to the table, to other musicians, to Nico, to Thomas, to Bill Frisell, all these collaborations. The element I can bring that is meaningful for a musical dialogue has been folk songs.”