The Following Mountain, Sam Amidon’s sixth album overall and his third for Nonesuch Records, is his first album of original songs. A deeply personal synthesis of folk-based song form and experimental improvisation, it “feels like a liberation” (Uncut) and “provides constant, jolting surprises” (The Guardian). But in his decade-long career as a recording and touring musician, the singer and multi-instrumentalist (banjo, guitar, fiddle) has always managed to create work that’s utterly original, even when, as on previous discs, he was digging through the sounds and stories of traditional American music. The Following Mountain features appearances by musicians such as Shahzad Ismaily, master percussionists Milford Graves and Juma Sultan, and psychedelic jazz musician Sam Gendel.
Prior to The Following Mountain, Amidon released five solo albums on the Bedroom Community and Nonesuch labels. Amidon’s material for these albums consists primarily of reworkings of traditional American ballads, hymns and work songs, with the New York Times writing that Amidon “transforms all of the songs, changing their colors and loading them with trapdoors.” The albums have been deeply collaborative in nature, inviting contributions from musicians such as composer Nico Muhly, guitarist Bill Frisell, producer Thomas Bartlett, and improviser Shahzad Ismaily among others. Amidon has also recorded or performed as a guest artist with groups such as Kronos Quartet, Jason Moran, Bon Iver, Tune-Yards, and Amidon’s wife, the singer-songwriter Beth Orton.
Formed in 2017, Hour interlaces atmospheric ambience with thoughtful melodies that drift through contemplative tension narrated by guitars, synths, strings and percussion.
Hour members are Michael Cormier– guitar & songwriting, Jason Calhoun – synth/violin, Abi Reimold – guitar, Pete Gill – drums, Evangeline Krajewski – synth, Matt Fox – viola, Evan McGonagill – cello, and Will Henriksen – violin
Released in February 2018 on Sleeper Records, debut LP ‘Tiny Houses’ explores the cracks and crevices of the spaces we occupy and call home. Each song balances the transcendence and claustrophobia that can come with sharing those spaces with others, and the decision, both liberating and painful, to leave and start the process over again.
By November 2018, the band followed up ‘Tiny Houses’ with their Lily Tapes and Discs debut ‘Anemone Red.’ Named in reference to the flower that grew from a mixture of blood and tears in the Greek myth of Aphrodite and Adonis, Anemone Red is a meditation on the colors and moods that rise between shared lives, and in the wake of doubt and loss. Its phrases hover and shine like dust particles, glowing in a patch of light refracted through an attic window at dusk. Each track brushes slowly at the outline of an unknowable story, flipping through curled, faded memories, stirring up a deep longing for someone you never truly met, if at all.