What do Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Calexico, and Iron And Wine’s Sam Beam all have in common?

Calexico, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams – to name but a few of the guess artists on Amos Lee’s new album Mission Bell. Amos Lee is a singer-songwriter from America with soul, funk and jazz influences. Lee’s 4th album, released on Blue Note Records caught my attention because it is produced by Joey Burns from Calexico, with Calexico providing the backing music as well.

Lee’s previous albums didn’t impress me much – it became a bit monotonous after the first couple of songs and I couldn’t listen to a whole album (kind of like Ben Harper and Dave Matthews if you try to listen to a whole album) – but his new album has got much more diversity – provided by Calexico’s strong and distinctive input and backing as well as the impressive range of guest artists.

The collaboration with Sam Beam, Priscilla Ahn, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson is great, and then there is a song called “Jesus” which features James Gadson (some of the artists he played drums for include Bill Withers, BB King and Herbie Hancock)  where you can hear a strong Bill Withers influence – which is very funky. His solo stuff combined with the collaborations and with the dimension Calexico brings to it makes the album as a whole very approachable and is definitely worth a listen.

You can buy Amos Lee – Mission Bell at a good price here.

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