Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


Beth Orton + Sam Amidon: 17.Jan.2010 - NYC

Bookmark and Share
Monday, Jan 18, 2010
Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

As gale-force winds whipped rain against City Winery’s exterior, inside the night belonged to cozy hour d’oeuvres, a glass of wine and old-fashioned folk singing.  Young banjoist Sam Amidon began the night with his best song, “How Come That Blood”, but never successfully matched the charm of his initial lulling cadence paired with his raspy sonority.  The audience (including David Byrne) embraced his deadpan idiosyncrasies and cheered loudly when he saved the intonation on his third song by moving his guitar capo into the same key he was singing in.  But his offbeat allure resonated well with his rustic musings, especially when sung in his yodeler’s croak of a tenor.  Accompanied by a pianist, he harmonized with Beth Orton—whom he introduced as opening for herself—on “Sugar Baby”, ending his set on a gorgeous note.
At this point the initial charm of the venue was compromised by the constant din of dinner service and accompanying crashes of dishes in the kitchen.  Its 300+ capacity dinner theatre dwelling stretched the bounds of intimacy.  Beth Orton’s self-deprecating dialogue with herself regained some closeness in the evening, between singing old songs from her catalogue (“Someone’s Daughter”, “Stolen Car”, and “Touch Me With Your Love”) and trying out some new material.  Hampered by a cough, some of her songs required several attempts or new takes in between sips of tea.  Regardless, her quivery but resilient voice was as soulful and nurturing as ever, especially on “Comfort of Strangers” and “Safe In Your Arms”.  Rounding out her set she brought Mr. Amidon back onstage to sing a duet of “Sugar Boy”, their voices beautifully balancing each other on its drawn out vowels.  Thus it was a shame Orton didn’t retain him on her last song “O-o-h Child”.

Related Articles
31 Jul 2014
Central Reservation was one of the best albums released in the past 20 years, and although the bonus material gives some new insight, the power of the original remains as potent as ever.
By PopMatters Staff
4 Feb 2013
The two-day 2012 edition of Slipped Discs -- where we feature great albums that missed our Best Albums of 2012 -- concludes with PopMatters writers offering their personal picks for some of the best records of last year.
3 Oct 2012
Trying to be both folk and electronica, Beth Orton’s career has always been defined by an identity crisis. But Sugaring Season proves that it’s better late than never for Orton to find her own vision as an artist
11 Mar 2009
Over a decade after its first appearence, Trailer Park shows William Orbit's former dance-muse becoming the frontrunner in the post-Joni folk-pop sweepstakes.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.