Audio Odyssey: Amos Lee


I’m not gonna lie, when I first heard of Amos Lee, I thought of mass-produced chocolate chip cookies. Turns out, what this Amos produces is much more delicious. He starts it off with Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight, in which he takes us over the rainbow. Indeed, much of what is to follow sounds like a modern-day, grown-up lullaby.

 

It wasn’t until track 4 that I realized that I actually had heard of Amos Lee. Arms of a Woman, which I had heard back in my crazy bachelor days. I always loved that song. It’s just so lovely. Back when I was all by my lonesome, this song always caught me a little bit. It made me long for the day, sometime off into the future, when I would find a woman to make me feel at ease in her arms. This song has even more meaning now. I live not quite 1000 miles from the place I was born, but six or seven hundred miles. Close enough. If you’ve got a special someone in your life, and you’re looking for some good romantic music, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s one of the better love songs out there from the past 15 years.

 

This whole album grooves in the same way that Otis’s Dock of the Bay grooves. It’s mellow, it chills out, but the bass packs just enough punch to make you want to tap your toe just a little bit. It’s undeniably coffee house music. Much like the first album I ever reviewed, Fink’s Sort of Revolution, this album, when it hits, it hits all the right spots. And it hits almost completely across the board, with only one exception. Jails & Bombs, which Amos squeezes out with a falsetto and the kind of clunky baseline that just makes it sound like cheap porno music. Quite honestly, I have to skip this song if I’m actually paying attention to the music. Often, I have music playing in the background, which this music is good for. It easily blends into the background. It doesn’t have any sharp crescendos, the hooks aren’t so catchy that you’re going to start whistling along. It can blend in if that’s what you want. That’s not to say it’s generic, it’s just that mellow type of music. Mostly happy, a few choir-style vocal spots, some sort of Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews type of funky acoustic guitar work. And that’s the venue where I think Amos feels most comfortable. It’s where he sounds his best. A little blues, a little funk, an acoustic guitar and some organ to fill in the blanks. A nice bass line to drive it home. Amos is good. He won’t be my favorite, but he’ll definitely make the rotation on a quiet, relaxing Sunday.

 

If you’re into some mellow stuff, Amos Lee is great. I highly recommend him. Same goes for those who like solo singer-songwriters. Even people who are fans of old R&B I think would like Amos’s music. If you’re only into up-tempo, heavily distorted guitars and fast drum fills, Amos is most definitely not your guy. I don’t think an electric guitar even makes a single appearance on this album. Not even a clean one for a little riff. Maybe I missed it, but I can’t recall any.

 

Check Amos out.

 

Next week, Hank Williams, Sr.

 

 

 

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About TR Snyder

I’m obsessed with The Beatles. I love fall and spring. I like to read. I like to watch TV. I believe in aliens and UFOs. My favorite movie is 500 Days of Summer. I’m a sucker for a good zombie flick though. I play guitar, bass, uke and blues harp. All at a distinctly mediocre level. I often forget to zip my fly. I love to cook. I went to school for poetry. Let’s see, what else? Long walks on the beach, the smell of the wind before rain, candlelight dinners, etc. I hate auto-tune. I can’t emphasize that enough. I also hate drum machines. I want to learn drums and piano. And a second language. Probably French.