Singer, songwriter, and musician Amos Lee – born Ryan Massaro in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – spent his early years as a second-grade teacher and bartender before fame came calling. Blending folk, rock, blues, and soul into his unique musical gumbo, Amos Lee was showing promise long before he came to prominence in 2005 when he released his debut album. In his early days, he performed any chance he got in local venues and bars. However, his first big break was as opening act for Mose Allison and B.B. King. After recording a four-track demo in 2003, he and his manager sent it out to several record labels. The chances of a big label responding to an unsolicited demo was slim-to-none, but, as luck would have it, iconic label Blue Note Records took notice and signed him up. Impressed by his voice, labelmate Norah Jones invited him to open for her during her 2004 tour. By the time he was ready to release his debut album, there was already a strong buzz throughout the industry…
Amos Lee released his self-titled EP (2004) and his debut album (2005) to critical acclaim and impressive sales. While the album stopped just outside the Top 100 in the U.S., it was an international hit, reaching #13 on the album chart in the Netherlands. His second album, SUPPLY AND DEMAND, was released in 2006 and reached #76 in the States. His third album, LAST DAYS AT THE LODGE (2008), did even better in his home country and rose to #29. With each album outselling the previous one, it was no surprise when MISSION BELL reached the top of the charts in 2011. Building his audience with each release, Amos Lee’s catalog also includes the albums MUSICIANS OF SORROW, RIVERS OF SONG (2013), SPIRIT (2015), and MY NEW MOON (2018). During his career, he also released two more EPS, a pair of live albums, and several singles including the hits “Shout Out Loud”, “Windows Are Rolled Down”, and “No More Darkness, No More Light”.
2022’s DREAMLAND is Amos Lee’s second album on Dualtone and his first album in nearly four years. In some ways, the album picks up where MY NEW MOON left off, but it also travels new musical ground. Perhaps influenced by the state of the world since his last album, DREAMLAND is an atmospheric waltz through a musical world that is neither here nor there – it feels like a journey through the land of dreams. Moody and misty like a thick veil of fog, the album is heartfelt and offers a warm embrace as the songs whisk you through the chill in search of comfort, love, and hope. There is heartbreak, but there is also celebration. There is loss, but there is also redemption. Is this the same album that Amos Lee would have released had there not been a worldwide pandemic? Or is this the result of all that has happened since the beginning of 2020? Does it even matter? DREAMLAND is a beautiful album that continues to build upon his musical legacy, and it is a perfect gateway for those not yet familiar with his work. Key tracks include “Worry No More”, “Shoulda Known Better”, and “See The Light”, but DREAMLAND is an album that should be listened to as a whole. If you’re looking for escape, this album is a dream come true.