Amos Lee's latest is sweetly ominous.
Does it take a worried man to sing a worried song? For Amos Lee's sake, let's hope not. His sweet yet foreboding new CD, Last Days at the Lodge
(Blue Note), conjures a perfect summer day with black clouds on the horizon. Like Norah Jones, with whom Lee has toured as a supporting act, the 31-year-old singer-guitarist has mastered a uniquely American fusion of country, jazz, folk, and soul (the ingredients on Last Days
include bluesy organ, banjo, and pedal steel guitar). A disciple of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Prine, Lee draws on the power of suggestion and ambiguity: Who knows why Sally Jane abandons her family in the slow, sad "It Started to Rain," or if simmering jealousy is destined to explode into violence in "What's Been Going On"? One thing's for sure—Lee's fine-grained, careworn voice can veer from worry to woo in the space of a falsetto note. He may have trouble in mind, but he'll make hay while the sun shines.