One of the magic musical gifts that I received this past year from Gray Charles was Amos Lee. Amos is a very interesting musician and artist. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, he attended the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!), where he dabbled in acoustical music outside of school. He returned to Philly to teach school, but decided to pursue his musical career. He ended up opening for the divine Ms. Norah Jones. Her n’er-do-well boyfriend/bass player, Lee Alexander actually produced Amos’ first, self-titled CD.
(Still holding out faint hope that Lee will eventually fade from the picture and Norah will hook up with Taylor Hicks and produce many Soul Chirren. I mean, Ravi Shankar was the grandfather of Taylor’s kids – how cool would that be?)
Anywho…Amos reminds me a lot of his self-proclaimed influences: James Taylor, Bill Withers, John Prine, and Neil Young. He’s easy to listen to a few songs are just addictive. Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight literally became an anthem for me last summer. His entire first release is good. Here’s the playlist and few YouTubes of songs:
- “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight” – 3:08 *
- “Seen It All Before” – 4:15 *
- “Arms of a Woman” – 4:11*
- “Give It Up” – 2:38 *
- “Dreamin’” – 2:54*
- “Soul Suckers” – 2:49*
- “Colors” – 2:40
- “Bottom of the Barrel” – 2:00*
- “Black River” – 3:31
- “Lies Of A Lonely Friend” – 3:23
- “All My Friends” – 4:18*
*Denotes Music Maven favorites.
Arms of a Woman
Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight (Live at Abbey Road Studios)
Soul Suckers at the Stone Pony (Note: One of the best lyrics I’ve heard: “Nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world.”
All My Friends & Colors
Today’s Trivia: Colors has been featured on House, Grey’s Anatomy and in the feature motion picture, Just Like Heaven starring Mark Rafalo and Reese Witherspoon.>
Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Amos released Supply & Demand. Similar to the first CD but with more “seasoning” and confidence.
- Shout Out Loud*
- Skipping Stone*
- Supply and Demand*
- Sweet Pea*
- Night Train
- Southern Girl*
- The Wind
- Long Line of Pain*
- I’m Not Myself
Here’s the video for Shout Out Loud.
As part of this release, Amos did a 12 part Podcast on iTunes regarding the making of the CD. It’s a really great look at how an album is cut. I thought that it might be cool to post it and discuss some of the issues he addresses. So, today we’ll start with the first three and I’ll put the others up in parts later.This first podcast talks specifically about the single Shout Out Loud and the start of the making of the album. The next two address some of the ins and outs of making the album and the shooting of the video. Again, very interesting insight into the making of a CD.
Amos Lee Podcast Part 1 Amos Lee Podcast Part 2
Amos Lee Podcast Part 3
My friend, NOLAGirl, had the opportunity to catch an Amos show at the House of Blues in New Orleans in December and here’s what she had to say:
Amos is what I like to call a “stand there.” He just stands there on the stage, with his guitar, in front of his mic stand. I suppose that could be boring, but with the soul in that boy’s voice, no way.He covered nearly all of his 2 albums, even the very slow, somber–ish tunes like “Black River.” That surprised me. I thought that would be way too slow to do live, but he pulled it off.
He opened with “Skipping Stone.” He added a trumpet player as the “oomph” in “Sweet Pea,” which was definitely sweet. They only “jammed” on one song (it escapes me now – sorry, that was December!), but it was a nice jam — a little improv, a little “life,” you know? He didn’t do “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which he had done in other cities, so I’m not gonna lie – that was disappointing!The crowd was mostly college aged and a little older, but there were couples in their 40s and 50s as well. Packed house.Oh, and in between 2 songs, a girl in the front row on the floor asked Amos to sign something for her because it was her birthday (no, I’m not making this up). He handled it well though, and said, “Right now? I’m kinda performing right now!”