Amos Lee/ Associated Press
A few thoughts about Amos Lee after his return Wednesday to the sold-out State Theatre in Minneapolis:
- He’s gone from an acoustic bluesy soul man to a country-folk singer, with a twangier voice, lots of pedal steel guitar and mandolin accompanying him, and frequent y’alls peppering his conversation.
- Lee did at least a half dozen tracks from his September release, “Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song,” his fifth studio album. Probably the best “Mountains” number was “The Man Who Wants You,” a swampy soul workout with a bluesy piano ending. The rootsy title tune – dedicated to the late Minneapolis promoter Sue McLean and the Band’s Levon Helm, who inspired the song – was a bit laid-back.
- On the second night of his tour, Lee relied on lyric sheets on a music stand. But neither he nor his fine band seemed tentative.
- He offered one piece that he called “brand, brand new.” “Bakersfield” was the night’s most forgettable selection.
- Lee is beloved in the Twin Cities and the feeling is mutual. He talked about his many gigs here, including his debut at Bunker’s, the Basilica Block Party, his strep throat two years ago at the State Theatre and the Minnesota Zoo when a tornado threatened to disrupt his show.
- The crowd truly loved it when Lee found his inner soul man, unleashing his killer falsetto on a medley of his own “Baby, I Won’t You” and the Delfonics’ “La-La Means I Love You,”
- The Philly singer/songwriter manifested his usual quick and sarcastic wit. When a gruff-voice fan shouted out “please come back,” Lee retorted: “I definitely won’t. That’s the scariest [voice]. Macho Man says,” said Lee, imitating the raspy-voiced late pro wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Then Lee added that the fan had such a distinctive voice that he should be making money off of it.
- For the encore in the 1 ¾-hour set, Lee answered a request for John Prine’s “Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone,” which, of course, has the lyric “from the jungles of East St. Paul.”
Here is Lee’s set list from Wednesday:
- Johnson Blvd/ Stranger/ Bottom of the Barrel/ Cup of Sorrow/ Love Tight/ Chill in the Air/ Dresser Drawer/ In the Arms of a Woman/ Supply and Demand/ Jesus/ Baby I Want You > La-La Means I Love You (Delfonics)/ The Man Who Wants You/ Southern Girl/ Sweet Pea/ Mountains of Sorrow/ Windows Rolled Down ENCORE Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone (John Prine)/ Violin/ Colors/ Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen)