Vermont indie-folk singer-songwriter (and husband to Beth Orton) Sam Amidon is gearing up to release his fourth album. This new release sees longtime pal and collaborator Doveman, aka Thomas Bartlett, re-take the producer's reigns after Icelandic avante-garde composer Valgeir Sigurðsson helmed Amidon's previous two records. His sound flits across the Atlantic: at times, he'll exude dusty Americana, laden with banjo-frolickery and country twangs, and in other moments he'll veer towards bucolic Gaelic paeans. He's carved a comfortable crevice in which to craft music, often re-envisioning vintage ditties and aging folk sounds in a more contemporary fashion - and, occasionally, he'll whack in a surprise or two as well.

'Pharoah' is embellished with tropical guitars and the odd chirrup of tremelo that incites images of an old Italian serenade-ist (serenadier?) in Venice. There are primitive woodwind sounds and bursts of metallic glitter. The whole track, while rooted in folk, has a dissonant, art-music vibe; it's not simply mournful strumming about boats or meadows. 'Weeping Mary' is deeply hymnal, there's no pretence there, with Amidon frequently extolling a religious spiel: "Glory, glory, glory, glory be to my God..." It's a cover of a song that his folkster parents, Mary Alice and Peter Amidon recorded in the 70s for Nonesuch records - Amidon's new label. Nonesuch are collecting themselves quite the dynasty.

This is a record that excretes loneliness. He's described it in interviews as a "lonesome record," that "comes from more of a darker, internal space." That undercurrent is instantly recognisable in his music, and often Amidon seems to mourn his detached life, grieving amongst soft guitar sounds and murmurs of rhythmic tones. The atmosphere is created through his use of quiet. He regularly leaves wide open gaps between his music, and any instruments that tend to 'fill out' music, like bass guitars or pianos, are polished and clean, sticking to the treble rather than muddying the music with a lower register.

Amidon is partial to a cover song. He's tackled R Kelly and Tears For Fears in the past, but this time around, we see him dabble with Mariah Carey's 'Shake It Off' and country legend Tim McGraw's 'My Old Friend'. These two efforts are so warped and distorted from the original, unless you're told (or a particularly avid fan of either), it's unlikely you'd notice. 'Shake It Off', far from the slick pop-laced R&B, becomes a sparse, almost barren, piano-centric track full of silent breaks and woozy vocals. 'My Old Friend' is highly Mumford-y, with jostling banjos and shuffling percussion. Anchor will be offering him a deal any day now. It's uplifting, more hopeful than many efforts on Amidon's latest LP.

Bright Sunny South has many wonderful features - his covers are exquisite, and there are times, like on 'Pharoah' or 'He's Taken My Feet', where the outside-the-box interpretations of folk are quite something. It's a shame there aren't more of these forward-thinking noises, and as such, the album only semi-succeeds, with the isolated guitars and lethargic vocals coming across too full of wear and drear. His performances can't be faulted, and it's clear Amidon is a master at what he does, and maybe if we saw that talent put to more experimental use, we'd have a classic on our hands. As it is, this is good – nothing more, nothing less.