Amos Lee "Amos Lee", Amos Lee new album now out on Blue Note Records.
Though Amos Lee's music is frequently described as a fusion of folk and soul, such an equation fails to reflect the singular artistry of this impressive debut. Like labelmate Norah Jones (who guests on two cuts), the Philadelphia singer-songwriter recognizes the power of simplicity, distilling an emotional essence that cuts across categories. The opening of his "Seen It All Before" echoes Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"; the stunning "Arms of a Woman" channels Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember"; "Give It Up" cuts a classic Bill Withers groove; "Black River" has the sound of an age-old spiritual; and the closing "All My Friends" follows Van Morrison into the mystic.
Throughout the song cycle, the bare-bones arrangements behind Lee's vocal flutter reinforce an organic unity that transcends genre. For all of the debts he owes to the music of the 1960s and '70s, the results sound timeless rather than retro. In his cautionary "Soul Suckers," Lee sings that "nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world" - and proceeds to prove it
What a week it's been for Amos Lee. His debut Blue Note Records album was released on March 1 to great acclaim ("This Amos deserves to be Famous" - People Magazine; picked as one of "10 Artists To Watch" by Rolling Stone). On March 2, he made his national television debut on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman, a performance that had Letterman proclaiming "wonderful, isn't that tremendous? I'd like to be Amos Lee."
After playing three sold-out club shows in NYC last week, including an unforgettable March 4 set at the historic Bitter End - home to two of his all-time favorite recordings, seminal live albums by Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield - Lee kicked off a two month run with Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard, March 7 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA.
Now there's word that Amos Lee's debut self-titled album has cracked the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart in its first week of release, bowing at #190. The album also debuts at #9 on Billboard's Heatseeker Chart.
It's onward and upward from here: Amos Lee takes a one-day detour from the Dylan/Haggard tour to make his South by Southwest debut with two shows on March 18: sharing an afternoon bill with John Legend at the Starbucks Stage, then performing at the Austin Music Hall that evening with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mavis Staples and Robert Randolph. And look for Amos Lee on NBC'S Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 23.
Amos Lee "Amos Lee" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.