Beth Orton readies for U.S. tour and her first new album in six years

September is way early for sugaring season. The sap in sugar maples is at its best for just four to eight weeks in the spring.

But don’t tell that to Beth Orton. The beautiful, stylish folk-pop singer will be back with Sugaring Season, her first album in six years — supported by a U.S. tour — this fall.

Here’s the first video, for a song called “Something More Beautiful”:

During the six years since her last album, Comfort of Strangers in 2006 (the year  daughter Nancy was born), the U.K.-born Beth has kept a somewhat low profile.

Sam Amidon and Beth Orton at Rockwood Music Hall in December 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

But recently she’s been in a working and personal relationship with Sam Amidon, a Vermont singer-songwriter. She’s been showing up at Amidon’s shows with her second child, Arthur (born last year), on her hip. While she tends to fly below the radar as much as she can at Sam’s gigs, he can’t help beaming at her and the baby when he’s on stage. And he can’t resist having her join him for a song or two, as he did at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan last December.

During the quiet time since her last album, the folk-oriented singer spent time really learning how to play guitar, spending time with Scottish master Bert Jansch before his death.

“A lot of what I have been doing has been around learning my craft and asking Bert for guitar lessons,” she told Kathy McCabe of The Daily Telegraph in Sydney last year.  “To be honest, we never really sat down and did a lesson. I would end up around his house on Sundays, drinking tea and eating biscuits and playing songs. While I didn’t become a s… hot guitarist, I made a beautiful, beautiful friend.”

And she’s no doubt learned a few techniques from Amidon, who’s an extremely talented musician well-schooled in shape note singing and banjo.

Sugaring Season is out Oct. 2. The tour starts Sept. 20, with Amidon conveniently opening every gig.

Here’s Amidon’s announcement of the tour, emailed to his fans on July 13 (yes, Friday the 13th!) written in his standard, quirky style:

hello friends,
because after 6 years somebody called beth orton is putting out a new album.    and because it’s extremely beautiful and there is a video that our friends ashley dean and david thomas broughton made for her song ‘something more beautiful,’ all if which you can see here:

and because it’s going to be autumn and that’s a good time for traveling, and because I saw the tedeschi-trucks band at the winnipeg folk festival last weekend. and that was like a blues explosion! yeah… blues explosions… around us…

and seeing as how I met their bass player “oteil burbridge” and i was all, “hey did you play bass on the trey anastasio free jazz album ‘surrender to the air’ from 1996?”  and he was like “omg nobody ever asks me that!” and i was like “yeah well that’s my style, that’s the whole technique of question asking that i have in my arsenal, which is that upon meeting you and knowing that you were a blues/jam bass player, i vividly remember the photo of you and your brother kofi in the studio shots of the liner notes to the trey anastasio free jazz album ‘surrender to the air’ which i bought at age 15 and which introduced me in turn to the music of marc ribot and sun ra- that is just a glimmer of the kinds of lines of questions i have in my question-asking arsenal.”

so because of all these things… due to the confluence of events that the universe presents us with… it hereby transpires that:
i’m going on tour throughout the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a great country, starting on September 20, opening for the musician Beth Orton.  And you can buy tickets to the shows, including October 4 at Town Hall in NYC which goes on sale today, now, via her website, which, you might remember, is:

i will be opening for her on all dates.  see you soon!

x sam


Thu 20th Sep 2012 The Belcourt Theatre Nashville , TN United States Find Tickets
Fri 21st Sep 2012 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA United States Book Tickets
Sat 22nd Sep 2012 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC United States Book Tickets
Mon 24th Sep 2012 Jefferson Theater Charlottesville, VA United States Book Tickets
Tue 25th Sep 2012 Keswick Theatre Glenside, PA United States Book Tickets
Thu 27th Sep 2012 Sixth & I Synagogue Washington, DC United States Find Tickets
Fri 28th Sep 2012 Somerville Theatre Somerville, MA United States Book Tickets
Sat 29th Sep 2012 L’Astral Montreal, QC Canada Book Tickets
Sun 30th Sep 2012 Mod Club Toronto, ON Canada Book Tickets
Thu 4th Oct 2012 Town Hall New York, NY United States Find Tickets
Mon 8th Oct 2012 Athenaeum Theatre Chicago, IL United States Book Tickets
Tue 9th Oct 2012 Turner Hall Milwaukee, WI United States Book Tickets
Wed 10th Oct 2012 Varsity Theater Minneapolis, MN United States Book Tickets
Fri 12th Oct 2012 Fox Theatre & Cafe Boulder, CO United States Book Tickets
Sat 13th Oct 2012 The State Room Salt Lake City, UT United States Book Tickets

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