It’s taken a good dozen years for singer songwriter Amos Lee to embrace his Philadelphia soul roots as fully as he does on new album “Spirit,” which dropped in August 19th.
“It does have a much more soulful direction, much more R&B, but that’s due to the instrumentation and arrangements,” says Lee, speaking from his hometown (“My town,” as he affectionately calls Philly). “The first record was more acoustic because of its elements: just me and an acoustic guitar and drums. I’m not a genre-fied writer. My favorite albums have a thread continuing through the songs that pulls you through the record from start to finish — and that’s a sonic thread. That for me is what makes it a great listen all the way through.”
Steering “Spirit’s” soul-infused sonic thread was Lee himself. After two career boosting albums produced by music veterans
Joey Burns of Calexico (2011’s Mission Bell, which debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200, and spun off a hit single with "Windows are Rolled Down"), and Jay Joyce (Little Big Town, Eric Church, Cage the Elephant on 2013’s “Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song”), the 39-year-old felt confident taking the helm as producer.
“My role was more of facilitating people and bringing together the right musicians to elevate the songs,” he says. “This was so much a collective effort, a collaboration. Overall, being a producer meant choosing the musicians I wanted to work with without anyone in-between us. Picking the right people focused the recording process on the songs. I really did my homework.”
Key in boosting Lee’s confidence in taking on the producer role was fashion designer John Varvatos, who signed Lee to his Varvatos Records, an imprint through Republic Records.