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The 12 Days of Local Christmas: “Holiday Song” by Amos Lee

Amos Lee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Amos Lee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

The XPN Local 12 Days of Christmas continues today with a holiday strummer with hometown hero Amos Lee, who recently headlined The Tower Theater. Lee is currently on the road in support of his 2013 offering, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, but this tune dates back to 2009, when Amos offered it as an exclusive download to his Facebook fans. It’s a solitary and soulful acoustic guitar song that would sound just right by a warm fireplace, as Lee belts out a simple, powerful message: “Peace starts with me.” Get a download below, and watch Amos perform it at the Buell Theater in Denver in December of 2009,

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Review: Amos Lee brings Rivers of Song to the Tower Theater

Amos Lee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Amos Lee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Philadelphia native Amos Lee took on Philadelphia’s historic Tower Theater Tuesday night as part of a tour supporting his most recent album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song. Lee’s soulful alt-country songwriting, classic voice and stellar backing band pleased a packed crowed and went down as a win in my book.

Lee opened his set with “Johnson Blvd”, the first track off of his latest record, a song that, between its slow build to a beautifully resolving chorus and having been written in a way that truly showcases Lee’s voice, was a very appropriate song with which to open. Continuing with Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, Lee and his band then played “Stranger”, the second track on the album, during which the combination of warm guitar and piano interaction and a taste of Lee’s falsetto made the crowd feel right at home.

Midway through his set, Lee ditched the band and played a few solo tunes, including “Dresser Drawer”, a song with a surprising backstory about Lee’s San Franciscan friend Johnny whom, after being separated from his wife, Lee visited for a period of time. “Johnny sent me a photograph on the iPhone,” Lee added, “of his wedding ring in a dresser drawer, which is really sweet. And then, 5 minutes later, I got another one, and it was a photo of his wedding ring in a dresser drawer next to some condoms.”

Still solo, Lee played a tune dedicated to his late grandfather, “Jesus”, which actually works better as a solo acoustic song than with a band. It practically goes without saying that, after bringing his band back on stage, “I’m the Man Who Wants You” got people on their feet and dancing to its soulful, groovy tempo.

Amos Lee was joined by fellow Philadelphia native Mutlu who, maybe lacking in a truly original sound, made up for it with playful lyrics and a unique brand of charisma. He got the crowd engaged with the tongue-and-cheek tune, “Board Games”, a song Mutlu describes as what you get when you try to write a sexy song about, you said it, board games. Lee brought Mutlu back on stage late in his own set to perform Mutlu’s on song, “Caramel”, which was at the very least fitting of the Thanksgiving spirit.

Amos Lee and his band have a very polished sound, and at its core is Lee’s songwriting and strikingly unique voice. It made for an excellent hometown performance, making us Philadelphians proud to call Amos Lee our own.

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Watch Amos Lee receive a commendation from Mayor Michael Nutter at City Hall

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Before headlining the Tower Theater last night, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Amos Lee stopped by City Hall to receive a commendation from Mayor Michael Nutter. In a short ceremony attended by Amos’s parents, managers and reps from concert promoters LiveNation, Nutter commended Lee:

…for his talent, his success as a singer, songwriter and performer, and for the pride he brings to Philadelphia as a musician who is giving back to the community at large. We commend him for his volunteer support of the WXPN Musicians on Call bedside performance programs, and for his efforts to raise awareness of the healing powers of music.

He also presented Lee with a Liberty Bell award, offering suggestions for its use: signaling the beginning or end of practice, or using it to rally his bandmates. Watch a video of the ceremony below.

After his mayoral citation was presented, Lee’s mother underscored how significant it was for the family, who are lifelong Philadelphians with roots in Kensington, while Lee himself spoke of the evolving perception of the city at large.

“People would ask me where I’m from, and when I’d say ‘Philadelphia,’ they’d ask ‘Where do you live now?’” Lee said. “But it won’t be long before this city is recognized as a major cultural center around the world, and I applaud [Mayor Nutter] for the work he’s done towards getting us there.”

Check out photos from the ceremony in the gallery below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Amos Lee at Tower Theater, Oh! Pears at Ortliebs, Slackwater News at Chameleon Club and more

Amos Lee | Photo by John Vettese
Amos Lee | Photo by John Vettese

Philly’s own Amos Lee will take to the Tower Theater stage for a night of soulful folk tunes. Lee released his fifth album Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song on Blue Note Records last month and treated fans at World Cafe Live to a live set of new material at his Free at Noon concert. Get tickets to tonight’s show here and watch him peform “Chill In The Air” below.

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Amos Lee will be honored at City Hall tomorrow

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

As his tour in support of Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song winds back through Philadelphia, local musician done good Amos Lee will swing by City Hall tomorrow afternoon to be honored by Mayor Michael Nutter. The singer, whose roots lie in South Philly and South Jersey, will receive a mayoral proclamation for both his musical output and his work with charities like Musicians on Call and Farm Aid.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News’ Molly Eichel, Lee said the city remains near and dear to his heart. “I have great memories of neighbors and neighborhoods and the intensity that Philadelphia offers,” Lee told the Daily News. “I love it. It’s my home. It’s my family’s home. It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by the city, and I appreciate it greatly.”

Lee will be honored at City Hall tomorrow at 1 p.m. He performs tomorrow night at The Tower Theater; tickets and information on the show can be found via the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch a fan video of Lee’s recent Free at Noon performance below.

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Listen back to Amos Lee’s Free at Noon concert performance (playing Tower Theater on 11/27)

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Two Fridays ago, Philly boy done good Amos Lee visited World Cafe Live to perform a Free at Noon set for a sold-out house. The set drew entirely from his just-released fifth album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, and the show served as a kickoff for Lee’s fall tour, which brings him back home on November 27th at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby. Find tickets and information on that show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to Amos’ performance and check out a gallery of photos from the show.

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Watch Amos Lee perform “Chill In The Air” on Late Night with David Letterman (playing XPN’s Free At Noon this Friday, and the Tower Theatre on 11/27)

amoslee Amos Lee celebrated the record day release of his new album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, with an appearance last night on Late Night with David Letterman. He performed one of our favorite new songs from the album, the gorgeous “Chill In The Air.” You can listen to and watch a webcast of Amos this Friday when he performs during XPN’s Free At Noon this Friday.

WXPN Welcomes Amos Lee to the Tower Theatre on Wednesday, November 27th. Go here for tickets.

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Album Review: Amos Lee’s Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song (playing The Tower Theater on 11/27)

amos_lee_mountains_of_sorrow_rivers_of_song-portadaOn Amos Lee‘s fifth studio album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, the Philadelphia songwriter hit the road with his band and headed down to Nashville, Tennessee to record. As we’ve seen and heard with Amos before, he soaks in his surroundings. The results on Mountains of Sorrow showcase that unmistakable, soulful voice with the twang turned up on a collection of songs that would make ‘Music City’ (as well as Philadelphia) proud.

As you listen to Mountains of Sorrow, you have to credit Amos and his band for continuing to explore new musical territory with each new album. You could deem this a ‘country’ record (and you wouldn’t be wrong). But despite labels or genres, Amos embraces and executes with great engagement. He’s right at home on powerful, must-listens like “Stranger” and first single “The Man Who Wants You”. With the help of one of Nashville’s top producers, Jay Joyce, Amos was able to recruit some truly incredible musicians to help make Mountains of Sorrow pristine. Just listen to “Chill in the Air” and allow yourself to be draw in as Amos and Alison Krauss sing side by side. Same for the title track, “Mountains of Sorrow”, which see’s Patty Griffin sitting in.

You can also add musicians Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss) and Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) to the folks who help round out the album and make Mountains of Sorrow what it is. But just like the past four albums, it’s really about Amos – as a singer and as a songwriter. His work is always surrounded with a warmth and a sensitively that’s made him such a desirable songwriter to listen to and apparently to work with as well.

Amos Lee’s Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song is WXPN’s featured album of the week this week. On Wednesday, November 27th, XPN Welcomes Amos to The Tower Theater with opening acts Mutlu and Deathfix. Tickets and information can be found here.

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Amos Lee performs an acoustic session for Yahoo! Music (XPN Welcomes to the Tower Theatre on 11/27)

amos leeAmos Lee releases his new album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song this Tuesday, October 8th and plays an XPN Welcomes show at the Tower Theatre on Wednesday, November 27th. Lee recently recorded a video session for Yahoo Music that you can watch below. He plays acoustic versions of three new songs including “The Man Who Wants You,” “Chill In The Air,” and “Dresser Drawer.” Purchase Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song here.

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Amos Lee announces that his November tour will benefit Musicians On Call

amoslee

With only a few more days until his anticipated new album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song will be released (out Oct. 8th), Amos Lee announced today that with every ticket sold for his November tour, $1 will be donated to Musicians On Call, a non-profit organization that brings music to the bedsides of hospital patients. On top of that, if you wish to make an additional donation to the cause, you will automatically be entered into a contest to win an autographed Amos Lee guitar. Don’t miss Lee’s performance at Tower Theater Nov. 27th. Find tickets and information here. Listen and download Lee’s new song “Chill In The Air” off of his forthcoming album below.

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