Given the company Amos Lee keeps (Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, and John Prine are recent tourmates), it seems natural that his current tour would put him alongside Grammy winner and folk-rock legend Lucinda Williams.
Saturday night at Jacobs Pavilion, the two shared a few favorites from early in their careers, but also some new material, including “Clear Blue Eyes” which Williams recorded with Lee for his new album.
Mission Bell, which debuted at No. 1 earlier this year, is Lee's most radio-friendly offering to date, but in spite of its immediate likability, it still manages to maintain all the inspiration and lyrical integrity of his previous records.
Tunes like “Cup of Sorrow” and “Windows are Rolled Down” got the biggest reactions from the crowd, but it was the singalong chorus of “Careless” that stole the show. “This is a ballad I wrote a few years ago after my best friend slept with my girlfriend,” Lee said just before the song began. The song’s lament, “I'm sure that we both still love her/And it's a shame we both lost her and in turn lost each other,” blasted through the venue with an unmistakable inflection that let everyone know he may still be more than a little pissed off about the whole thing.
Lee’s finely constructed folk-pop gems have just the right mix of catchy hooks and a rare sincerity that resonates with just about anyone with a pulse and a stereo. In his career, Lee has set the bar quite high for himself, and most nights, this one included, he clears it with room to spare. —Ryan Young