He appeared at several points during Orton’s otherwise solo acoustic El Rey show, adding the easy clarity of his vocals to Orton’s fireside crackle. Her voice has always been her most powerful instrument, with a husky quiver that steps between emotional revelation and formal vibrato. She was at her best when he stood beside her, gaining energy as their guitars and voices intertwined. “How great is Sam?” she smiled as he left the stage, never betraying their relationship status but beaming all the same. It was written in her face, and in songs such as “Dawn Chorus,” a “Northern Sky”-style effort as tender as a mother’s touch.
The set didn’t linger on only the new material. She reached back to Trailer Park for “Sugar Boy” and “Galaxy of Emptiness” and made this writer very happy with a lovely take on “Sweetest Decline.” Amidon was a fine replacement for Adams on the harmonies of “Concrete Sky,” offering affable banter as Orton tuned her guitar. Still, it was in Sugaring Season stand-out “Last Leaves of Autumn” that she addressed the obvious: “I’m ready for a first-time feeling,” she sang, her husband standing off stage, invisible in the shadows. Beaming all the same.
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