"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."



Young Man Of Ethnomusicological Sorrow

Folk music reinvents itself.
Yep. That’s just what it does.
Periodically, over time, it remakes
itself anew. Which is why it endures.
Sam Amidon sings other people’s songs, and for that
may both Alan and John Lomax make us truly thankful.
Lone-and-lonesome, and blessed with a backwoodsman’s warble,
some say he’s from Old Vermont. Hence the twang to his accent.
Some say he could play the fiddle before
he could walk. Hence the turkey in his straw.
Out there along the railroad tracks he wanders.
In-and-out of County Jails. Hand-in-hand with The Shakers.
Off and on again with the chain-gangs of yore.
Subdued yet soulful. Muted yet imploring. A lemon light of Angelic sound.
Warm Jonnycakes in his pockets and cedar smoke in his corn-cob pipe.
Up-plucking at our heartstrings. Vibrating the very membrane.
These songs that Sam Amidon sings are
old-time songs. Transformed and transformative.
And the words to these old-time songs come from who knows where;
refracted and rejiggered by this fresh-faced musical mountaineer.
And if Sam Amidon admits to not always knowing the exact names of
all the notes that he’s playing, then it surely behooves us to forgive him.
For his is the sound of the grain and the lumber and the hushabye.
And deep is the Smithsonian River in which he chooses to fishe.
So here's to Cisco Houston and to Blind Sonny Terry.
And here’s to Huddie Ledbetter and to Moran Lee Boggs.
And Bessie Jones and The Georgia Sea Island Singers too.
And here’s to all those long-lost long-ago voices that
rambled and sharecropped and moonshined afore yee.
Sam Amidon's gonna die with a clawhammer in his hand, hand, hand.
That Sam Amidon gonna die with a clawhammer in his hand.

Sam Amidon performs at SXSW 2011