The most recent album from Amos Lee, 2013’s Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, focuses heavily on hard times. Much of the content was inspired by Lee’s many trips across the country and the people he met along the way.
“There’s going to be hardships, and I think that goes for anybody who’s been born onto planet Earth,” Lee tells me. “There are people who struggle so mightily, and yet keep a lightness about them, and those are the people who inspire me the most.”
But it’s not just the people putting on a brave face for the world that stand out to Lee.
“The people who are struggling and you see the pain in their eyes every day, that’s inspiring too because they still lift that rock up every day, the stone still goes up the hill,” Lee says. “It goes up slowly, but it still goes.”
The Americana folk strains of “Johnson Blvd” depict a tiny town ravaged by hard times, and “Tricksters, Hucksters, And Scamps” is a ragtime rock track about people who take advantage of the less fortunate. But the roots rock number “Stranger” touches on the transient nature of life, something Lee closely identifies with.
“A lot of people are just trying to figure it out every day,” he says. “I’m one of those people who wakes up some mornings and wonders, ‘Where am I?’ And not just geographically, but as a human being. ‘Am I here? Are we on Earth together? What are we doing? What are our goals here?’”
Join Lee on Earth together Feb. 15.
Amos Lee plays with Black Prairie 8 pm Saturday, Feb. 15, at McDonald Theatre; $36 upper balcony, $41 floor.