Mission Bell

Studio Album by released in 2011
Mission Bell's tracklist:
El Camino
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Windows Are Rolled Down
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Violin
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Flower
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Stay With Me
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Out of the Cold
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Jesus
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Hello Again
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Learned a Lot
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Cup of Sorrow
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Clear Blue Eyes (feat. Lucinda Williams)
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb
Behind Me Now/El Camino (feat. Willie Nelson)
Low Quality 128Kb Low Quality 128Kb

Mission Bell review

The ever-evolving Amos Lee

Former elementary school teacher and now one of the best-known and successful representatives of such directions as jazz, folk and soul, Amos Lee last pleased his fans with new material quite a long time ago. His third album Last Days At The Lodge was released in 2008 and proved to be his most personal creations at that moment offering both calm and emotional compositions. Being a great guitarist with a soulful voice Lee also writes rather interesting lyrics, in which his first profession definitely helps him a lot. He often manages to veil his sacred feelings and philosophic views under unusual and appropriate metaphors, and the well-arranged beautiful tunes only underline the depth of his thoughts. After finishing his album supporting tour together with drummer Fred Berman and bassist Jaron Olevsky Lee has lately started working on his fourth disc Mission Bell. This record’s main difference from all Amos Lee’s previous works is the fact that a whole constellation of folk and soul stars has taken part in the recording process. The record’s producer is Joey Burns, the vocalist of the band Calexico known for its love of style mixing. More mature and original, the album Mission Bell is a big step forward for the ever-evolving Amos Lee.

Love, philosophy and life on Mission Bell

Vocal parts on Mission Bell have been performed with Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Priscila Ahn, Pieta Brown, James Gadson, and certainly the band Calexico. Amos Lee’s lyrics are becoming deeper and more philosophic which is especially noticeable on the new album. He is not only reflecting on love (which is characteristic of all his works) but on life as it is, looking at it as at a path – this is what the slow opening track El Camino is about; it is filled with light sadness and love of life. The protagonist of the more dynamic song Windows Are Rolled Down is full of hope to find love again even when his heart is broken. Amos trademark falsetto, laid-back drums and backing vocals make the most beautiful composition Violin one of the album’s highlights, whereas guitars on Flower serve the background for the artist’s splendid metaphors. The ballad Stay With Me in which country and rock elements are united proves to be one of the best love songs Amos Lee has ever written, its tune is easy to remember, and the lyrics are going to be appreciated by any woman if her man devotes this graceful love confession to her. Hand clapping, contagious drums, guitars with reverb effect and high notes in the vocals refine the philosophic piece Jesus. A very nice tune Learned A Lot is devoted to his ex, and Cup Of Sorrow once again has a country flavor with female backing vocals being especially good here. Finally we are offered marvelous examples of collaboration – the duet with Lucinda Williams Clear Blue Eyes and the complex number Behind Me Now/El Camino(Reprise) performed with the incomparable Willie Nelson.

The harmony of voice, instruments and verses

The soulfulness of Amos Lee’s music has always been one of its most important features. The musician names Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and James Taylor among the artists who have influenced him most of all. As a performer who gets inspiration from his own life he always has something to say and manages to find a new way to express himself every time. If Amos Lee made an accent on one of the song’s components on the previous record he has now worked as part of a team with experienced artists and created the harmony of voice, instruments and verses. Writing all the lyrics and melodies himself he has let producer Burns decide which arrangements suit best for these or those thoughts, and Calexico vocalist’s ability to interlace folk, country and Latin-American motifs has found reflection on Mission Bell, too. Undoubtedly the artists have been enjoying working together especially judging by the matched way the vocalists’ voices sound on collaboration moments and how softly and harmoniously the instruments create a perfect background for that matter. Thus, Amos Lee has not only pleased the fans with the anticipated work Mission Bell, but also proved that he can be great in the team of professionals definitely being one himself.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (28.01.2011)
Rate review4.33
Total votes - 6