Somewhat by accident I stumbled on this brilliant collection of American folk songs newly enrobed in imaginative vocalizations by the young banjoist/guitarist/singer Sam Amidon (who is corporately known as “Samamidon”). My link to the album is that the arrangements were made by the up-and-coming composer Nico Muhly, who is getting a lot of press lately, including a commission from the Metropolitan Opera’s program to promote new musical theater pieces.
Sam Amidon has a light and plaintive baritone voice, sometimes with an affected southern accent. (Those of us in the classical music biz might refer to it as “historically informed performance practice.”) The arrangements are austere and haunting. A good example is “Saro”, for which there are two music videos: one put out by the record label, and another homemade by Sam himself. This is the official one:
Here’s a link to the unofficial version.
Some of the other highlight tracks are “Wedding Dress” and “O Death.” I recommend the album.