Amos Lee Wraps Himself Around Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' With Pensive Beauty : World Cafe The Philadelphia singer-songwriter's cover of the 1971 classic is featured on his latest album, My New Moon Deluxe Edition.
NPR logo Amos Lee Wraps Himself Around Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' With Pensive Beauty

Amos Lee Wraps Himself Around Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' With Pensive Beauty

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Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Amos Lee's musical heart has always poured a lot of soul into his songwriting and recording, as well as his emotionally powerful live performances. Soul music comes in many flavors though, and Lee's influences reflect his long standing love of soul music. Throughout his career, Lee has woven R&B, gospel and blues — from his love of Bill Withers and James Cleveland to Luther Vandross and D'Angelo — into his songwriting. Lee has become a preeminent soul influenced singer-songwriter, adding flourishes of these various genres into a foundation also built on his admiration for John Prine and Joni Mitchell. This is why his new cover of "What's Going On" fits him perfectly.

On the heels of the release of Lee's recent album, My New Moon, a deluxe edition is being released that includes a cover of the Marvin Gaye classic. With just his acoustic guitar and his voice, Lee wraps himself around on the 1971 soul ballad with pensive beauty. While he takes liberties with the musical arrangement, Lee's warm voice embraces the genius melody and the timeless message of the song to full effect.

About his cover of "What's Going On," Lee told World Cafe:

"What's Going On" has always been one of my favorite songs. It's universal, timeless, poignant, powerful, and lyrically perfect. It embodies the story of struggle and strength as well as anything ever written. As long as we live through troubled times, this song will remain an American standard and a place of refuge for those who seek solace in song.

My New Moon Deluxe Edition includes the cover and six other additional songs, four of which are original songs, including "Little Bear," and "Dying White Light" which commemorates the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. The deluxe edition also has an acoustic version of "No More Darkness, No More Light" and a remix by Blake Mills, who plays on the album.


My New Moon Deluxe Edition is out now via Dualtone Music Group.