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Sam Amidon On World Cafe

Sam Amidon.
Terry Magson
/
Courtesy of the artist
Sam Amidon.

Sam Amidon grew up surrounded by music, from playing fiddle with his parents in Vermont to finding a best friend in musician and arranger Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman).

On his fourth album, Bright Sunny South, Amidon draws from a variety of traditional folk material, weaving it into his own mesmerizing compositions. With the help of Bartlett as a bandmate and producer, several tracks on the new album go beyond tradition to include free-jazz influences, as well as a cover of Tim McGraw's "My Old Friend."

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  • Shape-note singing is a communal form of music that began in New England 200 years ago, mostly from townsfolk without any musical training. Sam Amidon says the melodies of shape-note hymns are some of the "deepest-seated for me."