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.