Amos Lee – Mission Bell
I was thrilled to hear we got this full length album into the studio today – several weeks before the release date. It’s everything you would expect from Amos Lee… soulful, tender, thoughtful…and it’s also infused with a distinctive new flavor provided by the musical backing of the band Calexico and the input of one of its members – the album’s producer Joey Burns. Not to mention special guests including Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson and Sam Beam!
“El Camino” is a quiet but beautiful opener with delicate guitar picking and a somber story. The single, “Windows Rolled Down” is next, and from the first time I heard it, this tune really drew me in with driving guitar and organ plus a touch of lap steel that’s really dynamic. What follows is unexpected, but completely welcomed – another softer tune, this one with Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) on backing vocals. “Violin” is gorgeous, compelling, and almost haunting… and by the time I hit this third track, I know Mission Bell is going to be extraordinary.
Other tracks that stand out to me on first listen include the joyful, gospel-tinged, “Flower”, and alternatively the dark tune, “Jesus”, which is complete with hand claps and a touch of harmonica. I also really like the flamenco flavored, “Hello Again”, and the closing track “Behind Me Now/El Camino (reprise)” which features Willie Nelson’s vocals on the latter portion.
It’s safe to say that Amos Lee fans will be thrilled with this new release… watch for it on January 25th.
And if you’ve never heard this artist, I really believe the tune, “Windows Rolled Down” is a great introduction: