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A Moment of Peace on a Long Road

Amos Lee brings a feeling of country sweetness to northern blues.
Amos Lee brings a feeling of country sweetness to northern blues.

Amos Lee made a substantial impact with his self-titled debut album, which brought a feeling of country sweetness to northern blues. The disc was full of songs about love and loss — topics that describe most songwriting, yet still sounded new in his hands. On the new Supply and Demand, Lee continues to augment his angst with more complicated instrumentation and production, as well as a general sense of newfound bigness.

But a few songs return to the guy-and-his-guitar feel of earlier days — and they're all the more striking for the tracks that surround them. "Night Train" in particular benefits from its soulful feel: A subtly pulsing rhythm section gets into the sway of a train moving through the night, grasses waving by the side of the tracks: "Well, at a certain time of night now / I become one with the wind / where there isn't a beginning and there is no end."

Even Lee's voice sounds tired on "Night Train" — quietly worn from long days of trouble and a need for rest. But the quietness draws attention to every syllable, every subtle inflection and shift of instrumentation. In the middle of everything, it creates a moment of utter peace.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Claire Blaustein
Claire Blaustein is a freelance writer and music critic who writes for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Exclaim! Magazine and La Scena Musicale. She came to NPR as a Performance Today intern in 2005, and has thus far refused to leave. When not doing any of the above, she writes in her blog, I Dig Music..., and pouts until someone gives her a new CD to play with.