Amos Lee Is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist whose musical style encompasses folk, rock and soul. He has released four albums on Blue Note Records. Lee’s “folksy, bluesy sound” had been compared to Bill Withers, John Prine and Norah Jones. A New York Times music critic described him as having a “honeyed singing voice – light amber, mildly sweet, a touch of grain” which he features “squarely, without much fuss or undue strain” in his “1970s folk rock and rustic soul” musical song craft.
I really like his style as a musician and every time I hear him I hear his sound changing slightly and his songwriting also is constantly evolving. As a singer songwriter, every time I hear his music it gets better and better. Lee is an artist that gets me inspired to push myself as a songwriter and keep pushing hard to make great music. His songwriting is awesome and he’s really evolving and I can’t wait to hear more. I’ve compiled a list of 5 great Amos Lee songs and what they mean or the best I can decipher. Sometimes interpretation can be different then what the songwriter meant, but that happens all the time.
1. Street Corner Preacher – Last Days at the Lodge Album
A great story telling song about a man trying to overcome his past issues and sins and make it in the world today (at least that’s what I think this song is about). It’s funny, but the song can be something totally different. The best version I heard of this song is from the “Live from Bonnaroo 2011” video. Lee is accompanied by a slew of artists and backup singers. The song never sounded better.
“He got a new mercy, a new grace
Street corner preacher with the angry face
He got two years off for good behavior
Back in the neighborhood workin’ for the savior”
2. In the Arms of a Woman – Amos Lee (self-titled) Album
An amazing love song. That’s it. That’s all I have to say. When you hear this song it makes you feel romantic and loved and just all around good feelings. When I read the lyrics, sometimes it makes me think that it’s not a romantic song at all because he has this one line that says “Although now most of my days are spent alone”. Does he mean he’s no longer with her or is he always away from home because of being on tour? Not sure, but the song is an instant classic.
“I am at ease
In the arms of a woman
Although now most of my days are spent alone
A thousand miles from the place I was born
When she wakes me
She takes me back home”
3. Colors – Amos Lee (self-titled) Album
This duet with Norah Jones shows his range as a vocalist when he hits those falsetto notes. A song about how the world is different when his love is not around. Things don’t seem to be the same and time just drags on.
“When you’re gone
All the colors fade
When you’re gone
No the years they parade
When you’re gone
Colors seem to fade”
4. Windows Rolled Down – Mission Bell Album
An upbeat song that makes you want to get in the car and just drive till you run out of gas. This is a great song for a road trip or on a beautiful drive.
“Windows are rolled down
Moon is hanging low
Windows are rolled down
Think it’s time for me to go hey-ay-ay-a…-ay”
5. Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight – Amos Lee (self-titled) Album
This is one of those songs that I talked about that is so open to interpretation. I think this song has to do with him dealing with his growing fame and learning to cope with the fame and still be humble about life. “Keep It Loose” means don’t get too stuffy about being famous and getting money and have fun with the process and “Keep It Tight” means to also not get TOO loose and still learn that you have to keep a discipline in your life and still work hard to keep the music career going. Also, keep it loose and tight not only in music, but also in life and love (referencing the 2nd verse).
“and sometimes we forget what we got
who we are,
and who we are not
I think we got a chance to make it right
keep it loose
keep it tight
keep it tight”
As a side note with these songs, I had to pick 5 GREAT songs. These are not the top 5 Amos Lee songs. I believe he has so many great songs that could all be top songs. I didn’t want to force myself to choose, so I copped out and said 5 great songs. I’m looking forward to more Amos Lee music because it gives me inspiration as a songwriter and also he seems like a really cool dude.