"There's a real searching element to a lot of these songs."
Amos Lee has announced the January 25, 2011 release of Mission Bell, his fourth album for EMI’s Blue Note Records, and his richest and most fully formed album to date. Mission Bell, which was produced by Joey Burns of the acclaimed band Calexico, displays both range and cohesion, an array of emotions unified by Lee’s eclectic taste and distinctive vocals. With a remarkable set of guests—including Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Priscilla Ahn, Pieta Brown, and James Gadson—and the musical backing of Calexico, the album marks the arrival of Amos Lee as a mature artist who continues to explore his musical and thematic interests.
“There’s a real searching element to a lot of these songs,” says Lee, who has evolved into one of the most important and prolific songwriters of our time, a point that’s driven home by the 12 new originals on Mission Bell, and the presence of legends such as Williams and Nelson, who were eager to interpret Lee’s songs.
The most obvious change on Mission Bell is the album’s intimate yet expansive sound, which Lee credits to Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico. After a chance meeting, the idea came up for Lee to go out to the band’s Wavelab studio in Tucson and try some recording. “The musicality that those guys bring is just amazing,” Lee says. “It was especially nice to work with John and get a very different texture rhythmically. They’re great at creating atmosphere—sonically, they brought a beautiful dimension into a lot of the songs, and helped them to expand and breathe more.”
Lee has been out on tour throughout the summer debuting the new songs for delighted fans at major festivals including Denver’s Mile High Music Festival, San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival, and the Minnesota State Fair in Minneapolis.
Arms of a Woman
Windows Are Rolled Down