Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Amos Lee is an older man than he seems. He already has some of those softened edges, those grandfatherly qualities that are so seemingly easy to come by with age and the deterioration of muscles, hearing, seeing and movement. We will, at some point, all get worked over by the years that we live some of us more so than others and well begin to fall apart, or into a state where the words sweet and old and wise are synonymous with us, as they never have been before. We will be humbled and we will be forced into more of an observational mode, reached by getting to a point where weve participated all that were going to participate and were going to choose to refresh our memories as much as we can, to relive what our faculties are quickly starting to forget the frailties setting in like weeds. Its a counter-punch to the fuzziness and yet, it allows for more vividness that could be placed on our own senses and how we decipher them. We become limited, but we know more about ourselves than we ever have before and we realize that we should be thankful for that. Lee, a young man who now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, taps into thoughts that are more drafts than fully formed winds, finding that his preferred tale is that one of saggy-eyed weariness and of needing some kind of slow night to unwind from all of the chaos thats been thrown at him. He writes songs about women and men that cut to the core of them, that get at those intangibles that are their greatest and most wonderful weaknesses. Each of his songs could be boiled down into a simple, boiler response of, This was a good day. Yesterday was a bad day. No, wait, today was a bad day and yesterday was a good day, but one things for sure, Im no good at doing any of this alone. I need you. Or, I need someone that might not be you. Thats what Im trying to figure out here, tonight. It might take some more time though. The characters that Lee writes for us to follow arent the sullen kind of folk going through any version of crisis, but instead, theyre realistic and earthy, full of a melancholic light that gives them a resounding presence. They feel as if they know their ways around a trainwreck, but they also feel as if they know their ways around a recovery, or a remedy too. They are working on this long story that has many false endings and many false beginnings full of resiliency and vulnerability that come out as the delightful details that we tend to hang on and fall for. Lee sings on Ease Back, All the heartache I laughed away, like a clown, and reminds us to drink yourself a good time, as if we actually do have our hands on the controls. He hints that throughout all of the stray happinesses that come and go, we and the collection of people that he puts into his world, have ourselves/themselves to fall back on and we all find it hardest to fail on ourselves.