CMU Playlists

Playlist: Sam Amidon

By | Published on Wednesday 1 May 2013

Sam Amidon

American folk singer Sam Amidon releases his latest album, ‘Bright Sunny South’, on 13 May – his first for Nonesuch Records, the label which also released an album by his parents’ former group, The Word of Mouth Chorus, in 1977. Produced with longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), the album was recorded in London, where Amidon now lives.

Describing the shift in his sound on this album, Amidon says: “There was an atmospheric quality to my last two records; those albums are like a 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”.

Ahead of the album release and a headline show at Bush Hall in London on 23 May, we asked Amidon to put together a playlist for us. Of his choices he said: “Here are some songs that in some way inspired or are related to ‘Bright Sunny South’. Music is so beautiful in that it is a very great thing to sit down and turn the lights off and listen to it”.

Subscribe to this playlist on Spotify, and then read on to find out more about Sam’s choices.

01 Martin Carthy – Shepherd O Shepherd
This is some badass guitar playing. This album was recorded by Jerry Boys who did Bright Sunny South. He captures the sound in all it’s clarity and rawness. Martin Carthy doesn’t fuck around.

02 Don Cherry – Brown Rice
This is ancient melodicness music. You can hear it, you can feel it. You can eat brown rice.

03 Arto Lindsay – Ondina
I love Arto Lindsay’s songwriting and his desire to create his own musical landscape. He succeeds.

04 Planxty – Kellswater
Deep Irish trad-weirdness from the 70s. I learned ‘Streets Of Derry’ from Andy Irvine from Planxty’s duo album with Paul Brady.

05 Jimmy Giuffre – Jesus Maria
My wife Beth [Orton] was recording her album last year in Portland with one of my heroes Brian Blade on drums. Mr Blade mentioned that he had been listening to this music so I bought it and started listening to it too. There is a very strong sense of stillness and nostalgia in this music, don’t you think?

06 Word Of Mouth Chorus – Weeping Mary
This is a shape note song from a book called ‘The Southern Harmony’ published in the 1850s. This album, ‘Rivers Of Delight’, was released on Nonesuch in the late 1970s. The Word Of Mouth Chorus were a small ensemble of hippies who were touring with Bread & Puppet Circus at the time. Among them were my young, not-yet-married parents, in their 20s, travelling America and Europe and discovering shape note hymns and fiddle tunes.

07 John Martyn – Go Easy
I have been living in England, which is a very ancient place near the ocean. Since being here I have been learning about all this Irish and Scottish and English psych-folk type stuff that your people have been making over the last 30 years. Some of it is really good!

08 Word Of Mouth Chorus – Parting Friends
Another song by the Word Of Mouth Chorus. This one’s a duet between my folks. Enjoy.

09 Chet Baker – She Was Too Good To Me
Deep singing and trumpet playing and an awesomely odd sonic context for Chet Baker’s pure music.

10 Anne Briggs and Burt Jansch – Go Your Way
All you need to do is write one song that’s this good and then you’re basically finished. That’s what Ms Briggs did.