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“The Last Days” of Amos Lee

31 May

Amos Lee’s third CD is scheduled for release on June 24th. All indications are that this third effort will be as enjoyable as Amos’ self-titled debut CD, Amos Lee, and his follow-up CD, Supply & Demand.

Last Days is produced by Don Was, and is accompanied by a star-studded musical cast including, the formidable Doyle Bramhall, Jr who plays with the great Eric Clapton on guitar, legendary keyboarder Spooner Oldham who has backed Neil Young and Aretha Franklin, bassman Pino Palladino of The Who and The John Mayer Trio and drummer James Gadson, known for his work with Bill Withers.

From the tracks I’ve heard, Amos once again delivers an original, soulful, playful yet serious CD that exemplifies the depth of his talent. I have long been impressed with Amos and was fascinated by some of the techniques he used to promote Supply & Demand. Like his series of podcasts (here and here) that explored who he is as an artist and the process of his songwriting, delving into the stories behind some of the songs. As a fan, I eat that stuff up.

And with this effort, Amos is using subtle promotion like providing a video of a live performance of his new single, Listen, on the pre-order page for Amazon. He’s also already listing snippets of the songs before the actual release, way before. When you’ve got something good, it pays to put it out there and let people sample it.

However, through my deft navigation of the internets, I’ve managed to find full tracks of a few tracks for you to preview. Of course, I encourage you to pre-order to get your very own copy of Last Days at the Lodge.

The first single, Listen, is certainly similar to previous Amos conviction songs such as Shout Out Loud and Freedom, off of Supply & Demand, but there’s a confidence now about Amos that’s evident in his sound.

He also includes a re-vamped version of Truth, which is one of my favorite tracks off of Supply & Demand. I would like to know the reason why he’s including this song on two CDs back to back.

Truth (from both Supply & Demand AND Last Days at the Lodge)

But Amos is no one-trick pony as evidenced with the exquisite Ease Back. Enriched by some awesome BANJO, Ease Back, is a relaxing and introspective tune that hearkens Woody Guthrie and one of the few songs today that is on par with the brilliant folk songs of the ’60s.

I find the lyrics of Ease Back quite compelling and a testament to Amos’ ability to present a song that is starkly self-evident.  A great song about friends who may not have been on the best terms lately.

Hello. It’s good to see you comin’ back again.
It’s been a long time since I sat with you, my friend.
I’ll lend an ear. It’s not that’s so severe.
Time has killed the pain and dried up every tear.

And now, I’m thinking ‘bout what went down.
All the heartache, I laughed away just like a clown.
And now, you sit around and talkin’
Drink some wine. I’m really glad you stopped in.
To spend some time, you sit around and talkin’,
Thinking ‘bout the past, it’s funny how it lingers
But nothin’s meant to last.

And my Maw, she’d like to say hello.
But she’s a little scared that I can’t let it go.
So let on ease back, brother and let it slip away.
I’m tired of hanging on to the pains of yesterday.
Once again, the money is so thick.
It makes your heart go numb, it makes your mind get sick.

So, come on by, we’ll sit and talk about it,
Drink some wine, I’m really glad you stopped in, brother of mine.
We’ll sit around and talk it, drink some wine and maybe by the morning,
Everything is fine.
Everything is fine.
Ease back, brother, let this clear your mind.

Come on by and drink yourself a good time.
Have some wine, think about each other.
Sister, am I fine?
Yes, I’ve been alright now.
Take it lightly, step on out the front door.
I see you want some time.

Perhaps my most favorite track of those I’ve heard and previewed so far, however, is the Southern Rock-infused Street Corner Preacher. Like the refreshing Sweet Pea, from Supply & Demand, Street Corner Preacher gives us a great beat and an atypical subject, but it’s one of those contagious tunes that gets played over and over again until the intricate lyrics are committed to memory. One has to wonder how a Philly boy has such a Delta vibe.

Based on these few tracks alone, I give the CD an A+. Amos Lee is one of the great new artists of this generation who beautifully uses influences like Bill Withers, Ray Charles, and Bob Dylan to create a sound that is undeniably soulful and thoroughly enjoyable.  While critically acclaimed in many circles, Amos has sold less than 500,000 CDs of both of his releases COMBINED.  That, my friends, is a stark statement regarding music today.  However, while Amos is not a household name, he does quite well touring…at least enough to keep making great music.

Amos will be touring the U.S. this summer, doing what an artist should do — giving fans live performances to assist in the sales of his new release.

Click here for a listing of tour dates.

Amos Lee MySpace Page

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8 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2008 in Amos Lee, music dudes

 

8 responses to ““The Last Days” of Amos Lee

  1. Linda T

    May 31, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Wow! Here’s to all the young artists out there trying to make it in the trenches by putting out really good, authentic music. I loved this, especially Street Corner Preacher. I may try to catch him when he comes around my way on June 11th. Thanks!

     
  2. Colette

    June 1, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Great post, MM. I really like Amos Lee, and am looking forward to an outdoor concert he’s doing near me next summer too — must be on a national tour.

    He’s clearly sympatico with old-school blues and folk, but there’s something refreshing about his sound too — and compassionate lyrics too.

    My favorite of his — “Arms of a Woman”:

    I’m fascinated by guys with his kind of career — popular with a segment of the listening population, with very devoted fans, and selling

     
  3. Colette

    June 1, 2008 at 12:26 am

    woops that went away before I finished the last sentence.

    I was saying that he sells would be consider a moderate number of CDs, but plays good gigs and keeps on keepin’ on. It’s that alternative, less commercial world of music that I’m so glad to be plugged into…..

     
  4. shrewspeaks

    June 1, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Oh man Amos is terrific. The only way I can describe what I feel about this guy and his three cds is to liken it to upgrading cameras…I know, I know…go figure.

    The first cd was like my first digital point and shoot. An introduction into a new and fantastic world.

    Supply & Demand was like buying my digital rebel…signified I was more than just a little interested in this guy’s music…and this cd offered more variety than the first.

    Now with these ‘tastes” I liken it to hearing about the new fantastic features on the Canon 40D…which you all knew I ran out and bought right away. The features seem more advanced, yet with the same quality I have grown accustomed to.

     
  5. Brian

    June 4, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Amos will be kicking off his tour in Midland, MI and I will be there! We’re so excited to see him again here in Michigan. He seems to like our state as we’ve seen him for all his MI performances…The new music sounds spectacular!

     
  6. music maven

    June 5, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Awesome, Brian. I’m hoping that Amos will make it down to the Southeast again, at some point.

    Love me some Amos!

     
  7. Paige S

    October 10, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I have to say that Amos is amazingly the BEST! Recently, a very good friend of mine, Juliana, decided to take the chance and send him a message on myspace. She wanted to tell him about her former roommate, Amber who was diagnosed with ALS at the beginning of the year. Amber and Juliana are Amos freaks and have been for some time. Juliana told him that they were attending his show in Houston that weekend. Amos wrote Juliana back within hours!! He gave her extra tickets and he suprised Amber at the concert with back stage passes to hang out with him. Something that Amber will not forget!! AMAZING MAN!

     
  8. music maven

    October 11, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Paige, thanks for commenting. Great story. Amos seems to be a very direct, honest and hard-working guy who is dedicated to his music. Glad to know that there are still musicians out there who dare to reach out to their fans.

     

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