doors at 7:00 PM
$18 day of show
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Fatal Flower Garden EP (A Tribute to Harry Smith), a four-track 7” vinyl record from singer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon, is due November 15, 2019, on Nonesuch Records. Amidon first publicly performed the songs on this EP—all of which were on Smith’s beloved and influential Anthology of American Folk Music—for a concert commissioned by Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Belgium, as part of its large-scale Anthology tribute. Fatal Flower Garden was recorded over two days in East London with Amidon and frequent collaborator Shahzad Ismaily playing all the instruments; Leo Abrahams engineered, produced, and mixed. The 7” EP is available to preorder from the Nonesuch Store with an instant download of the track “Spike Driver Blues,” written by Mississippi John Hurt.
Amidon says: “Fatal Flower Garden is my tribute to the elusive spirit of Harry Smith and to his wondrous Anthology of American Folk Music. Harry Smith believed in the secret connections and mysteries that existed in culture … whether it was the feeling of Thelonious Monk’s rhythmic phrasing; the patterns in string games and Ukrainian egg painting designs; the wild fiddle tunes; or the epic folk ballads. He understood American Folk Music to be a wildly heterogeneous category that included multiple cultural, racial, and linguistic elements.”
He continues, “I love listening through the Anthology for its window in to 1920s musical practices in all their varied glory, but also for the silent consciousness of Harry Smith behind the whole thing. You can picture him listening to the recordings, expounding his theories about the connections between them, and digging all of it.”
Prior to Fatal Flower Garden, Amidon released six solo albums on the Bedroom Community and Nonesuch labels. Amidon’s material for these albums consists primarily of reworkings of traditional American ballads, hymns and work songs, with the New York Times writing that Amidon “transforms all of the songs, changing their colors and loading them with trapdoors.” The albums have been deeply collaborative in nature, inviting contributions from musicians such as composer Nico Muhly, guitarist Bill Frisell, producer Thomas Bartlett, and improviser Shahzad Ismaily among others. Amidon has also recorded or performed as a guest artist with groups such as Kronos Quartet, Jason Moran, Bon Iver, Tune-Yards, and Amidon’s wife, the singer-songwriter Beth Orton.