Sam Amidon is a folk singer. He covers other songs and makes them his own. And not just traditionals, either. Amidon covers R. Kelly. He hails from Vermont, and you can see that clearly. Only a Vermonter has such a love for the romance of a simply pluck guitar and a simple, yet dramatic melody.

His voice, like a true folksinger’s, shifts and moves with each different song. Amidon manipulates it, treats it like the instrument it is, adding effects to change the tone. Those affects all come from within though– it’s quite remarkable.

Take, for example, “How Come That Blood,” by the Georgia gospel singer Bessie Jones. He sounds like an Appalachian hillbilly running loose over some hills.

Sam Amidon: How Come That Blood

After Alex Chilton’s death, Amidon and frequent collaborator Beth Orton recorded “Thirteen.” It’s an interesting cover. Does it work? The song has been covered by so many others, most notably Mary Lou Lord and Evan Dando, not to mention Elliott Smith.

Sam Amidon and Beth Orton: Thirteen

You can check out the R. Kelly cover at Consequence of Sound.