Folk artist Amos Lee’s latest release, “As The Crow Flies,” is a collection of B-sides that didn’t make the cut for his album “Mission Bell.” Members of the band Calexico, Joey Burns and John Convertino, lent a helping hand in the production of the six-song EP.
The opening track, “The Darkness,” begins with an ominous and deep distortion, setting the tone for the lament about a lost love. The chorus is laced with poignant strings, but just when the listener might fear that the song will give into hoplessness, Amos offers a ray of light, “We all fall into the darkness before the dawn.”
“Simple Things” isn’t much more cheerful musically, but lyrically it uplifts the simple joys Amos finds in his life and with his lover. The song is sweet and reflective. Amos’ vocals are imperfect, but they project an honesty and vulnerability that anyone can appreciate.
The tempo of the EP shifts with the arrival of “Say Goodbye.” The short song has heavy country nuances and offers a different layer to the album. “May I Remind You” slows things down again. In it, Amos admits, “We’re all strangers, this we can see. We may fear each other, but each other we need.” Amidst the hurt, he sings of healing and restoration, “The whole world is turning black; the springtime and sunshine and flowers grow back.”
“Mama Sail To Me” is a tender song in which Amos pleads with his girl to return to him. The soft mandolin gives it a dreamy effect and the heart of the song is heard loud and clear. The closer, “There I Go Again,” pays homage to the R&B classics. In the chorus Amos sings of smiling and you can feel his grin, even if you can’t see it.
“As The Crow Flies” may technically be a “B-Side” album, but it only further proves that anything Amos Lee writes is heartfelt and inspired.