Still got that soul
Maybe the third time’s the charm.
Amos Lee’s eponymous 2005 debut was a polite, pleasant dollop of Starbucks soul, and though his 2006 follow-up Supply and Demand showed more grit and texture, it offered fewer hooks. Last Days at the Lodge finds Lee at his melodic and passionate best, given a considerable sonic boost from legendary Muscle Shoals session master Spooner Oldham on Hammond B3, and blues guitarist Doyle Bramhall, Jr.
As a songwriter, Lee is merely competent. His love songs sound as generic as their titles (“Baby I Want You”), and his urban-warrior poses on “Street Corner Preacher” and “Listen” sound contrived. But as a singer, he’s sublime. He unleashes a heretofore unheard Al Green falsetto on “Won’t Let Me Go” and “Jails and Bombs.” His phrasing recalls a young Marvin Gaye, and his soaring, supple tenor is a consistent highlight.