Sam Amidon (Back Room) | Cat's Cradle | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week

Clubs & Concerts

Sam Amidon (Back Room)

When: Fri., Oct. 14, 8 p.m. 2016



Last week, during zoe | juniper's Sacred Harp-inspired dance show at Carolina Performing Arts, I couldn't help but think of Sam Amidon whenever the shape note singers lifted their voices. That pure, unvarnished, lonesome tone is one of many folk traditions imprinted on the Vermont native's unforgettable voice, an instrument in which technical sophistication tempers oaky roughness. Amidon's art-folk integrates elements of jazz and contemporary classical; he sounds like someone dreaming of Americana rather than studying it. As if music were all part of a single lineage, Amidon is wont to transfigure an anonymous murder ballad and then instantly pivot to a folksy, unironic pop cover—Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey, R. Kelly—that becomes completely his own. Amidon's most recent album is 2014's Lily-O, based on improvisations with jazz-guitar legend Bill Frisell, but newcomers should start with 2010's I See the Sign, his most varied and visionary work to date. The title track, in particular, with the delicately melting clockwork of its arrangement and the coldly burning images of its lyrics, conjures timelessness in a way that pushes beyond Americana and into the realm of myth. —Brian Howe

8 p.m., $12

Price: $12-$15

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