BENTLEY'S BANDSTAND: Amos Lee, Mission Bell, Blue Note Records

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BY BILL BENTLEY

Amos Lee, Mission Bell, Blue Note Records

Hope springs everywhere. With all the battering the music business has taken in the past few years, an artist like Amos Lee stands like a lighthouse. Maybe because he stays away from the harsh glare of the spotlight, the young man has taken on the glow of a believer. Or possibly it’s his voice, which carries the soul of a visionary, and someone who isn’t afraid of showing himself. Likely it’s a combination of all these things and more, but when a person like this has an album that debuts at number one on the sales charts it feels like it’s time to score one for the good guys.

Mission Bell rings loud because Lee writes songs without any fancy tricks, and sings them like he’s in a church of the heart. Never one to overload his arrangements or bring in the whistles, he knows when enough is enough. Calexico’s Joey Burns handles production with all the care this music deserves, and adds the perfect Southwestern desert touches to send us reeling into that good night. What’s even better is how subliminal the music is. At first it almost escapes the ear, but when these twelve songs sink in it’s obvious we are in the hands of a new master.

Not long ago Amos Lee toured as opening act for Bob Dylan, like he was handpicked as someone not to miss. Dylan knows one when he hears one, and Mission Bell certifies that honor and more. And having Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson as special guests now is no accident either. Listen to “Windows Are Rolled Down” or “Flower” and try not to smile in wonder at just how expansive this old world can be, especially when there’s a soundtrack like this to go along with it. Next stop: Album of the Year at 2012′s Grammys.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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