Amos Lee

Philadelphia has a long and storied music tradition. Folk-soul troubadour Amos Lee now adds his own chapter to that history with his self-titled debut.

Philadelphia has a long and storied music tradition. Folk-soul troubadour Amos Lee now adds his own chapter to that history with his self-titled debut. Devoid of all the bells and whistles that clutter many of today's overproduced albums, the set serves as a simple showcase for Lee's melancholy yet deeply emotive tenor. For example, the bluesy "Black River" takes you to the heart of a man who wants nothing more than to have the waters of the river wash his sadness away. Lee is at his sorrowful best on the gut-wrenching "Arms of a Woman." Following in the tradition of legends Ray Charles and Bill Withers, he encompasses the pain, passion and power that love has over a man with an ease that is uncompromising and raw. Other highlights include the midtempo groove "Seen It All Before" and "Give It Up." Like labelmate Norah Jones, Lee proves that real emotion and true artistry are not always wasted on youth.—RH