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See Sam Amidon Wield a Possessed Banjo in ‘As I Roved Out’

Folk phenom revisits Irish standard, gets weird in woods

Sam Amidon puts his unique touch on the old Irish folk song “As I Roved Out” on his brand new album Bright Sunny South, but he reinvents it even further for the video above. Directed by John Hardwick (Blur, Arctic Monkeys, Dido), the clip begins with our host standing in the woods, reading from a piece of paper: “This song is about how you might be out on a cold winter’s night … maybe you’d bring a bottle of wine, head out into the woods, into the mountains ’cause maybe you’re trying to find some sort of inspiration. You look around, but at a certain point as you get out there, the sun goes down and the shapes of the trees start to emerge.”

When the song begins, his banjo almost leaps into his hands, and the surreality kicks in. Amidon interrupts his striking singing when his instrument jerks of its own accord — “What is it, banjo?” — and leads him to a previously unseen drummer, also out amongst the trees. Later, they attempt to fend off some sort of satyr type, all while the singer bleats fantastic heartache with the most minimal of backing. Revisit “My Old Friend” when you’re done.