Continuing from part one, Shawn Amos talks about his new EP Tells It.
W.E. How would you describe your new EP Tells It, and what inspired it?
S.A. When I first started playing the blues, I felt relief. I really felt like I finally arrived home. It was similar to meeting a long lost relative. This music has placed me firmly in my own skin in a way I never was previously.
The thing is, I've always been a student of the blues, I just wasn't a practitioner. When I was at NYU film school, I devoured Peter Guralnick's blues trilogy (we actually became friends after I graduated when he was kind enough to let me option the film rights for his blues novel, Nighthawk Blues). During spring and summer breaks I would take road trips south, visiting all of the spots on Peter's books. I'd say I listened to blues almost exclusively in college.
Then, years later when I was an A&R exec at Shout! Factory, I had the honor of overseeing John Lee Hooker's definitive career box set and reissuing Johnny "Guitar" Watson's catalogue. I worked with both of their families and really got an inside view of their music and legacy.
And of course, working with Solomon Burke on his last few albums fundamentally changed the course of my life. Ironically, my father was Solomon's agent in the '60s. Solomon taught me so much. When I was in Italy, I felt his hand guiding me. The day after our first show, I posted a note on my Facebook page thanking him for visiting me on stage.
Blues grows from the spirit and it needs to come from a place - emotion vs. intellect. People think it's about sharing pain but it's really about sharing vulnerability.