This time of year can get quite hectic and it seems like seeking out new music can take a little more effort than usual. That’s why I’m always happy when something comes into the station that I’m really excited to hear. No effort needed there – it’s like a musical fairy stopped by in the night to deliver the goods! This new tune from Calexico sounds great and gets me psyched for their new album Algiers that comes out in September.
Amos Lee – “Violin”
This is possibly the most beautiful track on the new Amos Lee album, Mission Bell. On the album track, you can hear Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) on backing vocals… and while Sam Beam wasn’t featured on this performance, Calexico does back Amos Lee beautifully here, as they do on his new album:
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: