Mariah Carey’s 2005 single “Shake It Off” is not a folk song. But contemporary folk artist Sam Amidon thought it should be, so on his recent album Bright Sunny South, he made it one. For the Vermont-born son of folk artists Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, testing the genre’s limits has become a habit; he’s filled out arrangements with harpsichord tracks by classical composer Nico Muhly, and he frequently collaborates with multi-instrumentalist and producer Doveman. While he’s now based in London with his wife, singer-songwriter Beth Orton, Amidon still embraces and pokes fun at his rural roots. (Watch him speak intimately about his relationship with trees in the video for his recent single, “As I Roved Out.”) Just don’t call Amidon a hayseed; as Bright Sunny South shows, he’s far too cosmopolitan to deserve that.
Sam Amidon performs at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $12–$14. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org.