Amos Lee to Play MPAC, 6/10
Singer-Songwriter Amos Lee performs music from his current release, Mountains of Sorry, Rivers of Song, at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 8 pm. Pieta Brown will be his special guest. Tickets are $39-49.
The New York Times hailed Lee's latest album, Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song (Blue Note Records), as a "serenely sure-footed effort from Amos Lee, a singer-songwriter who rarely delivers anything else" and Elmore observed, "'Mountains of Sorrow' may be Lee's finest yet." Entertainment Weekly praised his "strikingly soulful voice" while Paste noted, "Lee makes sorrow shimmer.Like Jackson Browne for another generation, Lee understands the staining traces of love."
For his fifth album, Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song, Lee took a different path for the recording; he worked in a new city with a new producer, while, for the first time, he brought his touring band into the studio with him. The twelve songs that resulted-the follow-up to 2011's chart-topping Mission Bell-bring Amos into new sonic territory, while retaining the trenchant impact of the scenes, characters, and stories in his writing.
This album arrives a full ten years after Amos Lee first signed with Blue Note Records and began a career that continues to grow and surprise. With the release of his self-titled debut in 2004, the Philadelphia-born former schoolteacher immediately earned the attention of not only the press and discerning music fans, but also of his fellow artists. He has toured with legendary artists like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, collaborated with Norah Jones and Lucinda Williams, and been regularly touted as a favorite songwriter and performer by the likes of The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.
Though Amos says that his primary strategy has always been to keep things as simple as possible, he knew that there was one thing he required for Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song, which was to record with the musicians he has been taking on the road. "I wanted to play these songs with people that I trust musically, and stay open to where it took us," he says. "The touring band works really hard, they're really musical, they're a good hang, so it was cool to hole up for a few weeks and experience it together. In the singer-songwriter world, it can be sort of a solitary creative process, so it's good to collaborate with people and bring songs to life together." The songs were almost all cut live, in just a few takes.
This reconnection to the power of pure music presumably came at a good time for Amos Lee, coming off of the success of Mission Bell-which debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200, Amazon, and iTunes charts, and spun off a hit single with "Windows are Rolled Down."
"That was a freakish thing," Amos says with a laugh. "It was cool, I'm glad it happened, but that was never part of our vision. The real goal for us was always to make good music so we can put more songs in the show that we like and that people respond to."
As Amos considers his accomplishment with Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song, he acknowledges the new ground he has broken, but saves his pride for the set's consistency and cohesiveness. "It's a bunch of songs from 1 to 12 you can listen to together," he says. "That notion of an album may be antiquated, but as someone whose mind has always been set to that, as a performer and as a listener, I still feel inclined to do it."
Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2013-2014 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.