Taking inspiration from soul greats, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, and folk legends, John Prine and Dave Van Ronk, Amos Lee directs his music with a spirit and presence rooted in American tradition. Amos delivers a unique brand of folk-soul music that aims to unite, uplift, and inspire. The “folk” side is reflected in his nimble acoustic guitar playing and the intimacy of his live performances. The “soul” strain comes through in the engaging song-poetry of his lyrics and in what the Philadelphia Inquirer described as his “easygoing voice” and “raw, unedited emotion.”
Amos Lee, his eponymous Blue Note debut, is set for release in March 2005. The eleven tracks, all composed by Amos, were produced by Lee Alexander and recorded by Danny Kopelson in July 2004 during two weeks of sessions at The Magic Shop in New York City. Among the album’s choice cuts are the atmospheric opener “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight” and “Arms of a Woman,” a classic triplet ballad that could have been covered in an earlier era of soul. Enhanced by a delicate string arrangement, “Soul Suckers” warns a young performer of the hazards of the music business. “Bottom of the Barrel” echoes classic John Prine in its wry humor, resilient spirit, and timeless melody.
THE STORY SO FAR
The 27-year-old former schoolteacher grew up going between Philadelphia, PA, and a suburb, Cherry Hill, NJ. “I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to see a few sides of life in this country.”
Amos entered the University of South Carolina in 1995, where he began to play acoustic guitar and write songs. “I met my kind of people in there: down-to-earth, sincere folks who didn’t belong to any club. They were all musicians, and they taught me how to treat my music with sincerity and integrity.”
After graduating college with a degree in English, Amos returned to Philadelphia where he taught elementary school. His desire to pursue music as a career forced him to make the difficult decision to leave teaching. To earn a living he waited tables, tended bar, and continued writing songs.
“I started playing open mikes and getting some feedback. I started feeling a little more confidence.” A self-released EP with five of his original songs made Amos “one of the area’s most-talked-about emerging talents” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was followed by a second, seven-song disc (both sold out on their initial pressings). “The time between when I stopped teaching and when I got signed was a beautiful, fun time.”
After having had the honor of opening shows for such legends as Bob Dylan, BB King, and Mose Allison, a break came when Norah Jones became an early convert to his cause and invited Amos to open her European tour, beginning in April 2004. Equipped with only his voice and guitar, Amos found himself facing 3,000−5,000 listeners a night-and up to three times that number when he joined Norah’s US tour (through November ’04).
And yet, night after night, he pulled it off. In their concert review the Los Angeles Times referred to Amos as a “writer and singer with enough personality to charm a crowd impatient for Jones to take the stage.” The Albany Times-Union praised Amos’s “charming and soulful solo set”; the Seattle Post-Intelligencer heard him blend “a folksy, flannel-and-denim sound with sultry R&B.”
"My favorite time in music is probably 1970−75. Still Bill by Bill Withers, Harvest by Neil Young, John Prine’s first album, James Taylor’s One Man Dog-I hope I can bring the same sort of spirit I hear on those records.
AMOS LEE ? Amos Lee ?