[3 April 2007]
Sam Amidon, once of laid-back Brattleboro, VT and now of busy Brooklyn, has crafted a gentle, unobtrusive album of country folk here in But this Chicken Proved Falsehearted. It’s the kind of record whose charms are shy. They hide in the corners of these banjo-plucked, dusky songs until they’re sure you’re the right sort, but then make you warmly, soulfully welcome. Amidon has an all-natural voice, breathy and whiskery rough and right-there-next-to-you, so that you can almost feel body warmth. It sounds just right on the opening title track and on the mournful, thoughtful “1842,” with its lonesome guitar and casual vocal swoops. It’s less of a fit with the Tears for Fears anthem “Head over Heels”, as Amidon strains for the high notes and strives mightily to inject humanity into this synth pop falsity. But then it’s back to warm, organic true-ness, with the lovely Mississippi John Hurt cover “Louis Collins”, a subtle tone of electric keyboards under Amidon’s quietly rueful voice, as he sings of angels and death. The E. C. Ball song, “Tribulation” gets a bit of piano-chiming sophistication slathered over the top, but underneath, it’s pure heart, warmth and sincerity, a sound that points you to your own realer, more grounded self. Three instrumental intervals provide meditative, moody space, but the core of this album is Amidon singing softly, sweetly right into your ear, as if he were sitting right next to you.