Sam Amidon – “Relief” (R. Kelly Cover)

Although Sam Amidon’s frequently contributed banjo and guitar to the whispered elegance of Thomas Bartlett’s Doveman project, he’s a fiddler first, and a man with a distinctive voice his own. The forthcoming I Saw The Sign sees the multi-instrumentalist work with preexisting material and a cadre of musical luminaires (Shazhad Ismaily, Nico Muhly, Beth Orton and Valgeir Sigurðsson), a fair step for a person four original records into a solo career marked with a unique sense of folk expressionisms. While it’d be fair to suspect a cover of an artist like R. Kelly to be an ironic gesture to a disparate genre, especially since we’re not always sure just how much of R.’s shtick is embedded with its own inherent sense of irony, Sam’s take is not only sincere but entirely transformational, gently recasting Kelly’s contentedly spiritualistic R&B jammer as a beatific slice of uplifting Americana, with swelling strings arranged by Nico. Pretty stuff.

Sam Amidon – “Relief (R. Kelly Cover)”

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I See The Sign is out 4/20 via Bedroom Community. You can catch Sam’s this Saturday 4/10 at the 92YTribeca. Here’s your link to tickets.
[Photo by Samantha West]