When Amos Lee took to the stage for his performance at the Music Box Thursday night, I immediately realized I’d had no preconceived notions about how he looked. First introduced to the artist through his recently released fourth album, Mission Bell, which features only a black crow and the artist’s name on the cover, I must have always felt like I knew enough about the man through his music because I hadn’t visited his website, conducted a Google Image search, or any number of other actions that could have put a face to the soulful, R&B-meets-country voice that I fell in love with on the album.
For all I knew, the curly haired, thoughtful-looking man approaching the mic could have been anyone—Seth Rogen’s older, better-looking brother, a guitar tech the audience REALLY liked—but then he opened his mouth and launched into the title track off that new album, and I knew it was Lee. There’s only one person who can sing like that.
The set that followed that opening song introduced me to a wide range of Lee’s catalogue that I was previously unfamiliar with. He performed songs from his 2005 self-titled debut (“Bottom of the Barrel,” “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight,” “Dreamin’,” “Colors,” “Black River”); its 2006’s follow-up, Supply and Demand ( “Supply and Demand,” “Careless,” “Sweet Pea”); as well as 2008’s Last Days at the Lodge (“Truth,” “Street Corner Preacher,” “Won’t Let Me Go”).
I felt woefully unprepared for the show, as each person around me was singing along to every one of these songs and shouting out personal requests between them. To counter that, I sang along extra loud to the half-dozen songs Lee performed from Mission Bell, including “Hello Again,” which was made all the more special by the addition of Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band) on trumpet. I mentally noted that I really need to buy those earlier albums before the artist returns to LA, because I enjoyed each of the older songs as much as I did the more familiar tracks.
Like the collection of songs on Mission Bell, the set spanned a range of influences from the church (the gospel-inspired “Cup of Sorrow”) to the bedroom (the sexy-time serenade “Won’t Let Me Go”). In addition to the “Woos!” and the “Yeahs!” emanating from the crowd, I heard more than a few “Amens!” and realized a concert audience isn’t much different from a congregation. In this case, everyone in that audience was a firm believer in the church of Amos Lee, and I’m pretty sure that night at the Music Box was my baptism.
Amos Lee Tour Dates:
02/01 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT
02/03 – Vilar Center – Beaver Creek, CO
02/04 – Belly Up – Aspen, CO
02/05 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO (SOLD OUT)
02/07 – Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
02/09 – Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
02/10 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX
02/11 – Paramount – Austin, TX
02/12 – House of Blues – Houston, TX
03/24 – State Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
03/25 – Turner Hall – Milwaukee, WI
03/26 – The Vic Theater – Chicago, IL
03/27 – Egyptian Room – Indianapolis, IN
03/29 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI (SOLD OUT)
04/01 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
04/02 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
04/03 – Wilbur Theater – Boston, MA
04/05 – Merriam Theatre – Philadelphia, PA
04/06 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
04/08 – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
04/09 – Variety Theatre – Atlanta, GA
04/22 – Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC
04/23 – Knight Center – Charlotte, NC
04/24 – Mountain Stage – Charleston, WV
04/25 – Tennessee Theater – Knoxville, TN
04/28 – NCPAC – Charleston, SC
04/29 – WorkPlay Soundstage – Birmingham, AL
04/30 – Jazz and Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA