Last Days At The Lodge
Blue Note Records
2.5 out of 5 stars
Amos Lee has got all the talent in the world. That is why this album kinda pisses me off. Is it good? Sure. Is it great? Not even close. This is the type of non-offending album that you wouldn’t turn off, but you wouldn’t turn up either.
Last Days at the Lodge seems like Blue Note and Lee’s big attempt to reach the mainstream like fellow Blue Note artist Norah Jones did a few years back with her beautiful and hugely successful album Come Away With Me. Lee and company enlisted top-notch producer Don Was (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Lyle Lovett) and even enlisted an all-star cast of studio musicians including guitarist Doyle Bramhall, Jr. (Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Sheryl Crow), keyboardist Spooner Oldham (Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Neil Young), bassist Pino Palladino (Elton John, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton) and drummer James Gadson (Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five). On paper, this album should be one of the better releases of the year; turns out Last Days at the Lodge is the least memorable album Lee has put out to date and offers nothing new or exciting to the listener.
The most memorable track on the album is the opening number, “Listen,” a bluesy shuffle number that makes you wish the entire album consisted of similar songs by the time you get to track three. Instead, the remaining songs are all in the three- to four-minute range and on the softer, almost sleepy side. Not that that is a bad thing, but with this lineup of musicians you are left longing for some ass-kicking or maybe even a solo that is more than 15-seconds in length.
Lee is probably going to gain a lot of fans in the 40-60 age range with this album and probably lose some of his younger fans along the way as well.