Mixing together R&B and folk influences, former elementary school teacher Amos Lee has a soulful voice and plaintive songwriting style that conjure the likes of Bill Withers and James Taylor. The Philadelphia native's thoughtful, easy-listening brand of music has seen him collaborate with kindred spirit and Blue Note stable-mate Norah Jones and tour with legends Bob Dylan and John Prine. In fact, while Lee's smooth, husky vocals and simple, jazzy arrangements place him comfortably in the world of coffeehouse soul, he also displays a knack for exploring evocative, socially conscious realms with a true author's touch; songs like "Careless" and "Night Train" find him in the same tradition as his folk heroes. Such a balance has allowed the singer to make a lasting impression and earn a devoted following that remains strong five years after his debut: Even though Lee hasn't released an album since 2008's Last Days at the Lodge, his show at the Varsity sold out weeks ago. With Tift Merritt. 18+.
Wed., April 28, 7 p.m., 2010