MP3 At 3PM: Sam Amidon

SamAmidon5133Sam Amidon‘s cover of R. Kelly’s “Relief” becomes more rewarding not so much with each rotation but with each passing refrain. For the patient listener, it communicates a great depth of character, as the initial interplay of banjo, violin, piano and acoustic guitar slowly invites cello, xylophone, woodwinds and Amidon’s relaxed, porch-perfect vocals into a playful and calming river of sound. The cover, unlike Kelly’s more straightforward R&B styling, flutters and pulsates, making the near-campy lyrics (“What a relief to know that there’s an angel in the sky”) much more palatable and believable. In the broader sense, Amidon’s choice of a slick, groovy Kelly joint is worthy of its own merit, too, revealing at the very least a great sense of humor, if not a decidedly pliable taste in music. Amidon’s third LP, I See The Sign, arrives Tuesday via the Bedroom Community label.

“Relief” (download):