On January 25th, Amos Lee is going to release Mission Bell on Blue Note Records. Mark your calendars, this early January release will remain on many best of lists by the end of 2011. Characteristically, Lee’s soulful voice is the focal point of the album. However, the sound of Mission Bell exhibits more texture than his previous releases. The project is produced by Joey Burns, from Calexico. His imprints are seen on every song. Mission Bell has a compelling echo, that adds a new dimension to Amos Lee’s sound, and perfectly matches the lyrical theme of each track.
It is an album about searching. The search is not temporal. Instead, the search is a cerebral journey. “Windows are Rolled Down” takes place at the interseciton of lonliness and renewal. The dichotomy of despair and hope pull the listener in two different directions. Conversely “Flower” is infused with a hope that is more optimistic, in fact it is a mature form of Naivete. Some songs, like “Stay With Me” are more atmospheric, but the soulful side of Lee is not lost or overshadowed on Mission Bell, as shown by the song “Learned a Lot”. However, an album with this much texture is perfect for guests like Sam Beam (Iron and Wine), Lucinda Williams and Pieta Brown. Willie Nelson also appears on the final track to make the exit from Mission Bell equal to its’ entrance.
About the author: Chip and his family live in Birmingham, AL. Roll Tide!