I have mixed feelings about this album…similar to the feelings I have for the Wilco album. I love Amos Lee’s music, especially his voice, and I really love the band Calexico, who back him on this album. I guess I had higher hopes for the collaboration, but there ARE some really great songs on here. I’d say half are extremely strong, especially “El Camino”, “Windows Rolled Down”, “Violin”, and “Flower”, which happen to be the first four tracks. Honestly those four almost carry the rest of the album for me. They’re that good.
Love this tune from Amos Lee’s new album, Mission Bell. It’s got that cheerful soul feeling that we find a lot in his music… complete with a gospel-like chorus of backup voices. The lyrics for this one make me very happy – “My heart is a flower that blooms every hour, I believe in the power of love.” And check out this cool video!
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:
I’m very much looking forward to some music that’s coming out in early 2011. As always, Amos Lee sings with an abundance of SOUL on his new single, “Windows are Rolled Down”, and I can’t wait to hear more off his forthcoming album, Mission Bell. Adele is a few years older and she’s still as fierce as ever… the followup to her debut album, 19 comes out in February and it’s fittingly called 21. I might be most excited about the long-awaited studio album from Sam Beam and Iron & Wine titled Kiss Each Other Clean; what I’ve heard of it is amazing! And we’ll have to wait until April for the rest, but the always incredible Paul Simon has given us a taste of his forthcoming album with a single about Christmas that’s not really a Christmas song.