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Philadelphian Amos Lee's Country-Fried Soul

Singer-songwriter Amos Lee grew up in a tough neighborhood near Philadelphia, but his music doesn't have an urban feel.

He writes songs that make you think he came from porch swings and wide-open spaces. Lee says he found his musical voice when he left the big city to attend college in South Carolina. He developed a falsetto style while singing along with Stevie Wonder records, he tells Michele Norris.

After returning to Philadelphia, Lee worked as an elementary school teacher, then as a bartender. Bartending should offer a lot of material for a songwriter, but he jokes, "I just found that I drank too much, really..."

At open mic nights, he honed a style of country-fried soul that caught the attention of Bob Dylan, who asked Lee to join his current tour. And Norah Jones played piano on Lee's self-titled debut CD.

One of his songs, "Arms of a Woman," is about the loneliness of being away from a loved one. In a society where people travel so much, Lee says, "you never really get a chance to sit down with the people you love, unless you really make an effort to do it. It doesn't just happen naturally anymore."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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