Samamidon All Is Well

The awkwardly named Samamidon are actually a band, the product of New Yorker Sam Amidon and a rotating array of friends. All Is Well, his second album, is comprised of interpretations of traditional American folk standards, but judging from the confidence with which Amidon tackles his subject matter, he might as well have written them himself. This record is a pure delight, with Amidon interpreting these standards Oldham- and Drake-style. The percussive rustles and sinister slant of "Little Johnny Brown” are goose bump-worthy, whereas "Saro” conjures loneliness, despair, hope, longing and defeat all at the same time. The treatment these songs are given is exquisite — fellow Bedroom Community artist Nico Muhly has come up with wonderfully understated horn and string arrangements. But the real star is Amidon and his subdued delivery, which aches, pines and fights with the force that sustained those who sang these songs in years past. That Amidon is able to successfully depict the unadorned hardships of American yore in a modern context while remaining true to the spirit of these stories makes this a masterful work of interpretive folk. (Bedroom Community)