CD Review of Amos Lee by Amos Lee

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Amos Lee
starstarstarstarhalf star Label: Blue Note
Released: 2005
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Amos Lee. Remember this name, because Blue Note Records has quite possibly come up with a male counterpart for superstar Norah Jones. Lee is a guitar-playing singer/songwriter, not a piano player, but fans of this type of music won’t mind—he’s got a rich, bluesy voice and mesmerizing songs that are laced with flavors of jazz, blues, pop and R&B. Imagine John Hiatt without the Joe Cocker-like growl, and you’ve got Amos Lee, whose voice more closely resembles Al Jarreau or even Al Green.

“Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight” is the opening track, and is instantly compelling. There’s even a guest appearance on piano from Norah Jones herself. “Seen it All Before” is a bluesy gem with incredibly lush vocal harmonies. “Arms of a Woman” is the kind of song a guy puts on when he’s either trying to show his tender side, trying to seduce a woman, or all of the above.

“Give it Up” and the slow moving “Dreamin’” are the brand of blues you might hear on a Memphis street corner. “Colors” is melodic brilliance, enhanced again by Miss Jones on piano, and has almost a Sarah McLachlan feel. The gospel-tinged “Black River” and the upbeat “Love in the Lies” are also standout tracks.

Amos Lee’s debut is the kind of smooth music that makes Sunday mornings pleasant, but it’s also so much more than that. This is one of those timeless artists that comes around once or twice in a decade, puts a smile on faces and then proceeds to attach itself to memories that make up the soundtrack of one’s life. Jump on board the bandwagon now before it gets too crowded.

~Mike Farley