Having the rep of being the hairy-?chested equivalent of Norah Jones might not sit well with Amos Lee. Jones did, after all, discover the Philadelphia native, whose jazz-?tinged folk-?pop would nestle nicely into any adco record collection that invariably contains Come Away With Me. If Lee hopes to branch off from this sphere, Last Days At The Lodge won’t be the album to do it. Just hiring mega-?producer Don Was alone is like tugging on the Grammy Awards’ shirt sleeve to say hello.
Lee kicks off Lodge with the revved-?up Listen but quickly settles into his softly?peddled acoustic soul, oscillating between themes of war (Jails And Bombs) and separation (It Started To Rain and the rural wind-down of What’s Been Going On). Though he veers toward bland sentimentality, it’s hard to discount the spectacular musicianship here. Producer Was brings in session aces like guitarist Doyle Bramhall Jr., organist Spooner Oldham and bassist Pino Palladino, throwing Last Days a life jacket just when the album feels ready to sink into a sea of ordinary.
Amos Lee plays the Danforth Music Hall Wednesday (July 9).