It’s kind of odd to think Amos Lee has been around as long as he has, then again, a decade isn't a terribly long time, but his presence has been constant. Like many, I was taken with his soft and soulful debut, 2005’s self titled release. Since then he’s released five studio albums (and a few spectacular live albums, actually listen to this one), with the latest being Spirit, a joyful gospel heavy jam that has me smiling wide every time I put it on. What Chance did earlier this year with hip hop (Coloring Book), Amos Lee has done with soul, crafting a record filled with so much love and warmth you can’t help but feel his heart. With arms wide open, Spirit welcomes you like a good friend you haven’t seen in awhile. Is anything better than that?
Amos has always been a man of simple pleasures. Singing of life’s joys, sorrows, and the stories both sensations inspire, and while those themes are present, this feels different. He seems at peace, allowing you to feel the same. It could have something to do with the theme of this record being rooted in the gospel sound, rather than his regular soulful folksy blues approach. That doesn’t mean the style you know and love has vanished, tracks like “Wait Up For Me,” “Walls,” and the sensual slow jam "New Love" make sure of that. Gospel isn't the only new addition to his bag of tricks, as we're given a treat by way of a Richie-esque 80's throwback "Lost Child," the hip hop style production on "Vaporize," or the heavy string work on the sweeping "Hurt Me" or the intimate closer "With You."
The heart of the album lies in its doctrine driven tracks. The joy is overflowing on songs like, "Running Out Of Time" and "Lightly," or we have a more traditional approach with the light title track, "Spirit," or the organ heavy "Highways And Clouds." There isn't a song on here I don't love. It plays through so smoothly, I have no choice but to proclaim this as Amos' best record. I know it's one that will be with me for the rest of the year and long after. Much like Josh Garrels' last effort, 2015's masterful Home, it makes me feel calm while filling me with strength. It's a rarity, and one you shouldn't miss.
Here's two of my favorite tracks to represent both sides of the record, the aforementioned, "Running Out Of Time," and the serene and heartfelt "Wait Up For Me."