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I See The Sign

by Sam Amidon

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Way Go Lily 04:18
Kedron 02:58
Relief 05:21
Red 03:45


Have you heard of Bessie Jones? She was from North Carolina, but she married a guy from the Georgia Sea Islands and moved there as a young woman. She sang many songs that she had heard growing up, but she also learned the children's singing-game songs on the Islands and sang them with the kids: Way Go Lily and Johanna the Row-di. She played tambourine like Tony Williams played his ride cymbal. She sang low and gravelly.  Her tambourine playing is the best rhythms ever. Thanks to my parents for singing her songs for me when I was growing up, and to Beth and Shahzad for singing them with me here.

It would behoove you to listen to a lot more Sonny Rollins. The "deep breath and soft sweep" of his tone, and the hermetic ordering of his melodies and phrasing can have a positive effect on the electrical charges in the human body. So why are you waiting to listen to his music?

Some of the other words and melodies are from other places. I originally learned Climbing High Mountains from Lucy Simpson. Have you read Lulu in Hollywood by Louise Brooks? Do you see the sign? —Sam 


released April 20, 2010


Produced and mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Song arrangements by Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon Sing, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Shahzad Ismaily Drums, Vocals, Bass, Percussion, Humming, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Mini Moog
Beth Orton Vocals, Nylon String Guitar
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass, Percussion, Mini Moog, Programming
Nico Muhly Piano, Celeste, Harmonium
Ben Frost Electric Guitar

Strings, Brass & Woodwinds arranged and conducted by Nico Muhly
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir Violin
Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir Violin
Þórarinn Már Baldursson Viola
Hrafnkell Orri Egilsson Cello
Helgi Hrafn Jónsson Trombone
Melkorka Ólafsdóttir Flute
Matthías Nardeu Oboe, English Horn
Helga Björg Arnardóttir Clarinet
Rebekka Bryndís Björnsdóttir Bassoon

How Come That Blood
Shahzad Ismaily Percussion, Mini Moog
Nico Muhly Piano

I See The Sign
Shahzad Ismaily Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Electric Guitars
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass
Nico Muhly Piano, Celeste

You Better Mind
Beth Orton Vocals
Shahzad Ismaily Drums, Mini Moog Bass
Nico Muhly Piano, Celeste
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass, Mini Moog, Programming

Way Go Lily
Shahzad Ismaily Drums, Backing Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar
Beth Orton Vocals
Nico Muhly Piano

Johanna The Row-di
Beth Orton Vocals, Nylon String Guitar
Shahzad Ismaily Vocals, humming Electric Guitar, Mini Moog

Pretty Fair Damsel
Nico Muhly Piano, Celeste, Harmonium
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass, Percussion

Shahzad Ismaily Electric Guitar, Percussion
Nico Muhly Celeste, Harmonium
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass

Rain And Snow
Shahzad Ismaily Bass, Humming, Electric Guitar, Drums
Nico Muhly Harmonium, Piano

Climbing High Mountains
Shahzad Ismaily Percussion, Humming, Nylon String Guitar, E-Bow
Valgeir Sigurðsson Bass
Nico Muhly Piano

Beth Orton Vocals
Shahzad Ismaily Percussion, Bass, Nylon String Guitar
Nico Muhly Piano, Celeste

Shahzad Ismaily Backing Vocals, Percussion, Acoustic Guitars
Nico Muhly Harmonium, Piano
Ben Frost Electric Guitars


Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Greenhouse Studios by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Additional engineers Paul Corley, Paul Evans.
Studio manager: Sturla Mio Þórisson
Intern: Johann Strübe

Photo by Ioulex, Drawings by Sam Amidon
Graphic design by Ritxi Ostáriz,

Publishing information: All songs are traditional, public domain. Recomposed by Sam Amidon
Except for Relief (Composed by R Kelly; Published by R. Kelly Publ., Inc./Universal Music - Z Songs (BMI)), Way Go Lily (music by Sam Amidon, words traditional), Red (Sam Amidon)

This is a Bedroom Community Record


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Sam Amidon New York

Born in 1981 and raised in Vermont by folk-musician parents, Sam Amidon sings and plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar.


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