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Amos Lee Review

by Archives November 29, 2006

Amos Lee Review
Supply and Demand
Blue Note

Those who think of Amos Lee as being the male Norah Jones who traded a piano for an acoustic guitar have perhaps misjudged him. While they do share the same record company and at some point a touring schedule, the comparisons end there. Lee’s sophomore record Supply and Demand is what I call F&S: folk and soul. But instead of the excess horns and never-ending vibrato vocals that are normally associated with soul, Lee trades them in for the subtlety and simplicity of the ’70s folk tradition of Bill Withers and Neil Young.

The grand message, if any, is resumed in one lyric on the title track: “Baby I need a plan to help me understand, that life ain’t only supply and demand.” Whether that is a clever stab at artists spitting out records as part of the music biz factory or just his philosophy on life is up for debate. However, what is undisputed on Supply and Demand are the lyrics’ innate ability to strike a chord regardless of the themes of pain and grief in the final (and his most personal) track “Long Line of Pain”, or political disillusionment in “Freedom” (another underhand comment on American foreign policy), or joy. Lee is simply a good songwriter, a trait that is vital in the folk music scene. How can one explain Bob Dylan’s longevity and legendary status as a lyrical God if that weren’t the case?

The simple and calm arrangements on this record help drive his lyrics. The emphasis on his voice shows a newfound confidence in his singing, which has improved significantly since his eponymous debut back in 2005.

Lee has turned a new leaf. Supply and Demand exhibits growth, maturity and a sense of purpose seldom found in pop music. While there are no sure fire hits here, as in catchy hooks, it takes patient ears to fully appreciate a figure that music listeners will be talking about for years to come.

4/5

– Sophia Damas

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