Amos Lee – Mission Bell

I’m not one to say I like country music. As a kid I grew up listening to the likes of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Australian country icon, Slim Dusty. As my old man would say “There’s only two types of music Country and Western”. As I grew up and my tastes changed. I ignored the slow and dreary country for heavy metal and punk rock. But now as I pass into the 3rd decade of my life, I can now appreciate the value of Country music.

Amos Lee is pure Country & Western. He’s a balladeer singing songs of love, Jesus and isolation. Two of those themes I identified in punk rock when I was younger. (not the Jesus one obviously, but I’m not here to tell you why believing in a fictional character is a fruitless mission) This record will not convert you, unless you have an open mind for music, but for many, our tastes are closed and narrow minded-so this won’t appeal.

The beauty in this record is comes from what it tries to achieve. Honest music crafted from a scene that has lost it’s soul seeking commercial recognition.

Simple rhythms, lonely harmonies and songs full of heart and soul searching, without having to scream to the audience (a la Emo/Screamo). The similarities I have found between the two opposite genres have allowed me to appreciate this record. Opener El Camino is a nice homage to cars and to long drives. Flower and Stay With Me are songs about being in love and Cup Of Sorrow is a real country song driven deep from the American south in the 30’s, and the stand out track on the album complete with gospel choir and organs.

Featuring some pretty heavy hitters in the country scene in Lucinda Williams and the old dope smoker himself, Willie Nelson. This album reminds me of my days as a little kid sitting in the lounge room while my dad played his favourite records.

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