Amos Lee (born 1977 as Ryan Massaro) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His musical style encompasses folk, soul, and jazz. He has released three albums on Blue Note Records, Amos Lee, Supply and Demand and Last Days at the Lodge. He has been on tour with musicians such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Paul Simon, and Merle Haggard. Lee performs with drummer Fred Berman and bassist Jaron Olevsky. Some of his musical influences include Stevie Wonder, John Prine, Bill Withers, and James Taylor.
Born in 1977, Lee grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He graduated from Cherry Hill High School East. He enrolled at the University of South Carolina in 1995, graduating with an English degree. While attending the university, Lee's stepfather gave him an acoustic guitar. Lee also found a job at a record store that specialized in jazz musicians, where he picked up an affinity for Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. After college, he moved back to Philadelphia and taught elementary school for two years, but later made the decision to stop teaching in order to pursue a career in music. Lee released a self-produced EP that featured five songs in 2003, and was signed by Blue Note Records soon afterward. The EP sold well in Philadelphia, catching the attention of Norah Jones. Jones invited Lee to open for her on her 2004 tour. Lee has also taken part in shows with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Paul Simon and John Prine. Some people think his music is a mixture of Folk and R&B. He has publicly said, "I've always gone for that folky-R&B sound for my music."
Lee Alexander, the bassist in Norah Jones' band, produced Amos Lee's self-titled debut album, which was released in March 2005. Norah Jones made an appearance on several of the tracks, playing piano and contributing vocals. The album found significant commercial success, hitting a peak of #2 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. Later that month he was named one of Rolling Stone's "Top 10 Artists to Watch." To promote the album, Lee performed on popular television shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Total Request Live, and Austin City Limits, the latter on August 10, 2005, which was also aired on PBS on November 11 of that year. In March and April 2005, Lee opened for Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan. Lee's song "Colors" was featured on House and on the finale of the second season of Grey's Anatomy. It was also used in the 2005 movie Just Like Heaven, which featured Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. The songs "Colors" and "Sympathize" were also used in episodes of the first season of abc's "Brothers & Sisters". Lee's songs "Shout Out Loud" and "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight" were both used during the ABC show Six Degrees. "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight" was also heard during NBC's Studio 60. NBC also utilised Lee's "Seen It All Before" on an episode of their widely-acclaimed ER primetime drama series. The song "Colors" was also featured on the second season of the Lifetime's Army wives.
Supply and Demand
Lee's second album, titled Supply and Demand, was released on October 3, 2006 in the United States. The album was produced by Natalie Merchant's bassist Barrie Maguire, and peaked at #76 on the Billboard 200. Jazz singer Lizz Wright contributed background vocals on the song "Freedom". The first single from the album is "Shout Out Loud." To promote the album, Lee played on The Tonight Show on September 28, 2006.
The track "Skipping Stone" also played on the ER episode "Dying Is Easy" (originally aired February 8, 2007). The song "Sweet Pea" was also featured in December 2007 in television commercials for AT&T.
Last Days at the Lodge
Lee's third studio album, Last Days at the Lodge, was released on June 24, 2008. The first single off the album is "Listen". The track "What's Been Going On" has also gained moderate success among radio stations.
Amos Lee performing as part of an October 2008 Change Rocks voter registration rally for Barack Obama, on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Amos Lee recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios in the summer of 2006 for Live from Abbey Road. His performance was screened on the Sundance Channel in the USA and Channel 4 in the UK in an episode also featuring Randy Crawford and Joe Sample and David Gilmour. There are also two short live recordings available from KCRW, one released in November 2005 and the other in March 2007 (available digitally).