Folksinger Amidon, Maine country band Traveling Trees up next on Olin stage

Touring in support of his recent CD Bright Sunny South, Vermont-born folksinger Sam Amidon performs in the Olin Arts Alive music series on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

The Maine country songwriter Wesley Allen Hartley and his band Traveling Trees open for Amidon at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is $12, available at For more information, please contact 207-786-6163.

Folksinger Sam Amidon. Photo credit: Terry Magson.

Folksinger Sam Amidon. Photo credit: Terry Magson.

Bright Sunny South, Amidon’s fourth CD and Nonesuch debut, is “a lonesome record,” says the singer and multi-instrumentalist. The folk songs, shape-note hymns and country ballads that he performs deal with the darkest, most fundamental issues. Yet there is beauty and comfort in these time-tested words and melodies and in Amidon’s simple, emotionally direct delivery.

These songs constitute a patchwork portrait of Amidon himself, each representing a facet of his history, travels and discoveries. Witness his version of “Weeping Mary,” a shape-note hymn his parents, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, recorded with the Vermont-based Word of Mouth Chorus for Nonesuch Records in 1977.

Amidon is known for reworking traditional melodies into striking new forms. He delivers these songs in a plainspoken voice that encompasses sadness and stoicism, vulnerability and wisdom. As a writer for Pitchfork said, “his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”

Amidon started out on fiddle and picked up guitar during a sojourn in New York City. If his foundation is in folk music, he brings influences ranging from free jazz to avant-garde to Irish to Bartok. He also incorporates storytelling and movement, particularly a kind of intense “liturgical” dancing, into his shows, and has appeared at experimental venues like Chelsea’s The Kitchen as well as on more conventional folk stages.

Wesley Allen Hartley (second from left) & The Traveling Trees.

Wesley Allen Hartley (second from left) & The Traveling Trees.

Wesley Allen Hartley & The Traveling Trees are a country band based in Portland, Maine. Their debut album, Narrow Gauge Quad Trains (Burst & Bloom Records) was named one of the top 10 local albums of 2010 by the Portland Phoenix.

In June 2010, the band recorded its second album, Don’t Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet, currently self-released.

The Traveling Trees have played numerous shows and festivals from Maine to Texas.

View Comments