Nonesuch Records releases The Following Mountain, the newest solo album by experimental folk artist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon. Created with producer Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Regina Spektor) and Amidon’s frequent collaborator Shahzad Ismaily, it represents a new approach for Amidon, who shifts here from his previous norm of re-working traditional folk songs and presents nine wholly original compositions, with some lyrics drawing on traditional sources. The album features a rare guest appearance by drummer Milford Graves, known initially for his work in the 1960s with free jazz legends Albert Ayler and Sonny Sharrock.
The Following Mountain was made during two distinct recording sessions: an initial weekend in Brooklyn where Ismaily and Amidon brought in Graves, percussionist Juma Sultan (Jimi Hendrix), and saxophonist Sam Gendel for a heavily improvised session; followed by time in the studio over the summer in London, where Amidon worked with Leo Abrahams to shape and develop the songs.
“The Following Mountain is a walk through the thickets of the imagination,” Amidon said, “… a personal mythology of sounds and visions and characters. It is my first album of original music, but is still linked to the Appalachian music I love, as well as improvisation, beats, Don Cherry, Vermont, London.”
The Following Mountain is Amidon’s sixth album and follows Lily-O, his 2014 Nonesuch Records collaboration with guitarist Bill Frisell, about which the Guardian wrote ‘A compellingly quiet, intense affair that is remarkable both for the power of Amidon’s understated, no-nonsense and often mournful vocals, and for the subtle arrangements that bring an urgency to his mostly traditional American songs and hymns. Subtle and intriguing.’