Amos Lee's last album, 2011's "Mission Bell," made a surprising early year chart debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. And while its successor, "Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song," didn't fare quite as well last month, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter has no hard feelings towards Miley Cyrus, who had the top spot that week.
"Well, putting a record out the same day may not be the best way to get back to that place," acknowledges Lee (real name Ryan Anthony Massaro), "but that's not really what we were trying to do with it, anyway."
And, Lee adds, "it's a little different now than I think putting records out was in the past, at least for artists like myself. I get some radio support which is awesome and I appreciate it so much because I don't have a lot of ways to get to the public. I'm really fortunate some TV bookers have me on, but there's no videos anymore and I don't really get a lot of pop radio (airplay), so it's mostly word of mouth -- which is always the best."
"Mountains of Sorrow" features some high-profile guests such as Patty Griffin, Alison Krause and the Dave Matthews Band's Jeff Coffin, but Lee says it was particularly gratifying to work with producer Jay Joyce, who let Lee using his touring band and also made significant contributions to the songs without dictating any directions.
"He wasn't an uptight, in-your-face kind of producer," says Lee, 36. "He just kind of lays back, and when he has suggestions he makes them. HE allows a lot of space for you to create, which I appreciate. And Jay really put his touch on the arrangements; I think a lot of (the songs) took on a life that will lend them to be played live for quite while, which is great."
Amos Lee and Kat Edmonson perform Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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