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Studio Milwaukee at The Cooperage: Amos Lee

Jen Ellis

Our second week of Studio Milwaukee Sessions at The Cooperage brought something a little different for each of the three shows. Brigitte Calls Me Baby started it off with their full-band swagger. Hippo Campus kept it going with a two-man acoustic set punctuated by some real talk and a sprinkling of goofiness. Then Amos Lee finished it off solo with this career-spanning performance that had the audience in his sway from the first strum.

Lee set the tone while easing his way through opener “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight” from his 2005 self-titled debut album. He encouraged the crowd to use their phones liberally, joked mid-chorus about the stick-to-itiveness required to get out a particular note, and went above and beyond to prove he really meant the “I love Milwaukee” you hear from most artists who roll through town.

“I went to a shop I really like here earlier today, and I told them that it reminds me of Philly, Milwaukee does,” he said of his native City of Brotherly Love. “The time I really fell in love with Milwaukee was when I went to Landmark Lanes, and I got mugged. … I was like, ‘This feels like home to me!’”

After the laughter subsided, Lee launched into “Hold on Tight” from his upcoming album, Transmissions (out Aug. 9), and then provided a bit of light-hearted perspective picked up during his two decades as a professional musician.

“I’m not really sure how albums … how people really get to them, how people find them,” he continued. “I’m not really a household name by any means, so it’s a little more of a challenge to get the music to people. Even though I have a lot of allies like y’all and some friends of mine along the way, you have to work really hard and grind just to make it happen. And I suck at social media, so that’s a bad thing for me.”

That might explain the whole “encouraging the audience to use their phones” thing, and Lee gave them plenty to capture. Between his loose, laugh-filled interview and impeccable musicianship, the guy knows what to do with his time on stage, and we couldn’t have been happier to have him back for his second Studio Milwaukee Session.

Listen to the whole thing using the player on this page, and secure your spot at all of our future sessions by becoming a Radio Milwaukee member.

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Set list

  1. “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight”
  2. “Hold on Tight”
  3. “Windows Rolled Down”