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Amos Lee


I am a late but a quick convert to the beautiful sound of Amos Lee. You got to love where the cat is coming from. He's a Philly guy (Cherry Hill, actually--I've spent a lot of time around there, so now he's a homie, too) and what he's doing with his music is necessary--he really is blending folk and soul music in a very credible way that's all about a down home integrity.

The very musical Lee Alexander (bassist and partner to Norah Jones) does a superb job on the production, achieved at The Magic Shop in Soho, NYC, where many great records are made. (It's one of the mega-musical locales of Steve Rosenthal, who also owns the Living Room, the home venue of many great singer songwriters in the East Village. The man is responsible for a lot of great music, and somehow remains under the national radar, no doubt by choice. There's another Magic Shop record coincidentally in this issue, Kim Taylor.)

Every track sparkles with a beautiful snap, and the song is always backing it up, no pseudo-songs here. Amos' love for the '70s writers like Prine and James Taylor is in constant and reverent evidence, and the marriage of that love for the music of Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder, man, I hear that. The emotional basis of good soul music is really the foundation, even more than the lyric-driven folk ethic, and that distinguishes Amos Lee from the pack. He's got that slightly smoky baritone that is so appealing a sound. And his voice can leap effortlessly into a more fragile territory that makes him sound so emotionally accessible. His appeal is not age specific, it's truly wide.

Amazing that he got to it late, that he'd already graduated college and started school teaching before he really started putting it on the line, to see if maybe he could do this music thing for real. Nothing like getting asked by Norah Jones to open for her in Europe to jump start the hell outta somebody's career.

We don't have his debut yet, but I'm going to iTunes right after this and get it. He's one of my people now, and we think he's gonna make you feel the same way in a hurry. What's not to love about Amos Lee? Nothing we can find. Go out and get it, you'll be glad. • Frank Goodman

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