Climb Every Mountain
4 Out Of 5 Stars
While Amos Lee has always mixed his blues with a healthy dose of folk music, "Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song" sounds like his folkiest album yet. There's still plenty of blues, like the vocal of "Stranger," but the backing of banjo belies the new folk underground running through this album. Then there's the backward guitar solo. Lee is having his cake and eating it. He approached this a bit on "Mission Bell," singing with the likes of Willie Nelson should have made that point obvious, but now it's more forward.
His brand of roots rocking is a potpourri of styles, and Nashville, where Lee and his band recorded "Mountains of Sorrow," weighs in heaviest this time. His guests magnify the area code as well, with Alison Krauss on "Chill In The Air" and Patty Griffin on the title track adding some high lonesome harmonies. But it's not all - to take from the album title - rivers of sorrow. The Dylan-esque and playful "Tricksters, Hucksters and Scamps" shows a sense of humor. Nor is Lee afraid of the new technology with the keyboard heavy "Loretta," and the horns that funk up "The Man Who Wants You."
I like "Mountains of Sorrow" just a tad less than I enjoyed "Mission Bell" (which I rated 5 stars in a previous review). But with his soulful voice delving still in the blues and folk elements that he's so good with, Amos Lee's "Mountain of Sorrow, Rivers of Song" is a solid album from a man who does Philadelphia (and this time, Nashville), proud.