Singer-songwriter Amos Lee has reached a sweet spot in his career. At 37, he has a decade of professional recording and performing behind him now and has found his own distinct voice, both as a writer and as a singer.
Mixing a wide variety of musical styles, Lee’s songs are direct and powerful, with vivid lyrical imagery.
Lee and his band will perform Sunday in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center, drawing material from his five albums, including the most recent one, last year’s “Mountains of Spring, Rivers of Song.”
He recorded the album in Nashville, but his home base is still Philadelphia, where he was born. Before launching his full-time musical career, Lee worked as a second-grade teacher and as a bartender. His big break came in 2004, when singer Norah Jones enlisted him as the opening act for her concert tour.
Lee recently took a few moments away from touring for an interview by email, sharing his thoughts about songwriting, performing, recording and touring.
Q: Your current tour schedule shows you on the road through mid-October, ending in Dallas. How much of the year do you tour?
A: We’ve been out supporting the new record for almost a year now. It’s been a great ride and we’re very thankful for everyone who’s come out to support us.
Q: How important is live performance to you?
A: It’s very important. I love getting out and playing these songs for everyone and feeling what my fans give back. It’s a beautiful thing.
Q: You’ve said you used to write songs on the road more than you do now. Do you take blocks of time off from touring and recording to write songs?
A: I’m always writing. It’s the process that I really enjoy.
Q: How much do you need for an album’s worth of songs?
A: It’s more in the story. Not necessarily how many songs, but saying what you set out to say.
Q: Your latest album, “Mountains of Spring, Rivers of Song,” recorded in Nashville, has a distinct country flavor. Is that a major musical interest for you, or one of many? What other styles do you want to pursue in the future?
A: I love all kinds of music. That’s probably going to influence how I hear things.
Q: Your lyrics contain some very succinct and direct but powerful lines, such as “The phone rings. I don’t care who it is,” and vivid phrases, such as “coffee spills and unpaid bills,” both from “Dresser Drawer.” Is that a conscious choice for you or just a natural inclination?
A: I think I have a specific writing voice after working at it for over 10 years now. It’s always changing and each tune is different, but the constant (factor) remains being true to the song.
Q: You’ve mentioned John Prine as one of your influences. What did you get from his music that shaped your direction?
A: My parents used to play John Prine, and that is just part of my DNA. I love how he can make you cry and laugh in the same song. He’s mastered the balance.
Q: What other influences are important to you?
A: I just like good music. Duke Ellington once said there are two kinds of music, good and the other kind.