this album was produced by the same icelandic contributor/producer, valgeir sigurðsson, who has engineered most recent björk releases as well as the 2006 bonnie ‘prince’ billy release, the letting go. you hear some similarities, though sam’s work seems to maintain slightly more americanness (except for a few fleeting moments when you feel a bit icelandic).
these songs sound of some older time in the united states. suitably so, as here he fully interprets traditional songs. this is something that my friend john king might be able to shed more light on (he is a sound archivist at berea college in the appalachians). there’s not a lot of internal difference here, so while there are a couple of stand-outs in sugar baby, fall on my knees and o death, the sounds traverse the whole recording. to that end, some of the workings are slightly forgettable.
i wouldn’t mind knowing what took sam to iceland to record traditional american songs. the musicians involved include another australian, ben frost and nico muhly, members of this so-called bedroom community. it’s fascinating for its diversity. equally oddly, sam is now married to beth orton.
old and new music forming together into something modernly reachable and beautiful. i can’t find much more to say about this one.