West Philly’s Amos Lee drops a new single, “Into the Clearing”, and prepares for the new album, “Dreamland”.
Broody, moody, yet ebullient West Philadelphia singer-songwriter Amos Lee may go into hiding between albums. Still, we must never forget the unforeseen possibilities, the quiet, subtle jazzy risks he has taken on the elegantly complex Supply and Demand (from 2006, the album with the dippy romantic “Sweet Pea”), the soul folk-ing Last Days at the Lodge (from 2008), the occasionally eerie, yet chart-topping Mission Bell (from 2011), the country-driven Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song (from 2013), and the cobalt bluesy Spirit (from 2016).
Of Spirit, Lee once told me that he took some radical risks in both the in-studio production of its music as well as its writing – sensual, soulful, wounded, open, vulnerable, and vividly live. “The progression of the live show definitely inspired where Spirit went,” Lee said. “A soul song is a country song to me, and that’s where I have grown the most, how you can build a record dynamically… It’s taken me a long time to get focused as a bandleader and think about song structure. I’m usually the guy sitting at home doing the simpler chordal stuff.”
Dynamic song structure and susceptibility, so far, sounds as if that is still the key to Amos Lee’s music, as his newest stuff – 2021 released tracks such as “Worry No More” and this week’s release “Into the Clearing” – reveals a mind and soul taken over by regret and a desire to clear his mental slate clean so that the good can flow. Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” and its “crack in everything,” so that the light can pour in comes to mind when thinking of the newest of Amos Lee’s songs.
Both of 2021’s emotional Lee moments pave the way for his pre-Valentine’s Day album release of Dreamland (due out February 11) and his first hometown show in forever, April 15 at The Met Philadelphia. That’s something to look forward to on such a rainy Friday.
Plus, if we duck backward to “Worry No More,” for a sec, check out the recently-released video on that. Directed by George Mays, the cinematic shortie was shot in, and is in dedication to Philadelphia all while “embodying the song’s lyrical embrace of tranquility amidst calamity,” notes its’ written statement of intent. That’s Lee playing guitar in Philadelphia’s Star Garden Park, the park where he grew up playing as a kid while other South Street locals pile in. Lovely, that.