I’m sitting in a hotel business center in San Francisco paying 49 cents a minute to hop online real quick using what sounds like dial-up. Awesome. The Noise Pop Festival and related blogger-nerd activities have been an absolute hit this weekend. There’s been great energy in the crowds, some surprising new talent, an even waffles for free. Yes, free waffles at the Noise Pop Expo. Pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than that.
While I process through some of the new music I’ve seen, here’s what San Francisco makes me feel like singing. The newest live set added to my iPod is from Amos Lee, and it’s one that I’ve been looking for on and off for over 2 years now. Every now and again I would half-heartedly click around on some sketchy torrent site looking for it, find questionable Romanian links, and eventually chicken out and not end up downloading anything. But I wholeheartedly and completely adore the gorgeous honesty in his voice and the stark, soulful way that it shines in a live setting, so when I finally found his set archived on the KCRW site I decided to take matters into my own mp3-ripping hands.
Amos Lee first popped on my radar in May of 2005 while I was travelling to Seattle for a conference. I went right out and bought his self-titled first album (out on Blue Note) and have fiercely loved it since. He’s almost exactly my age, maybe one year older, and used to be a schoolteacher in Philadelphia for a time before he struck out with his musical career. For a relative newcomer, he’s had some pretty impressive gigs opening for the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, and John Prine. Incidentally, he does a beautifully sad cover of Prine’s “Speed Of The Sound of Loneliness” that I truly love.
So it’s been me and Amos’ music for the travelling portion of this trip to the gorgeous city of San Francisco. Something in his songs makes it perfect for walking around some fresh downtown somewhere, or sitting just looking over the city.
ZIP: AMOS LEE ON KCRW