Amos Lee Supply and Demand

This young Philly songsmith has occasionally been termed "a male Norah Jones,” a tag that can be viewed as a blessing and a curse. They do share a record label and Jones’s nod of approval definitely helped boost Lee’s 2005 self-titled debut. They each have an eclectic and easy-on-the-ear style that can be dismissed as polite but lightweight, but that unfairly undervalues their subtle craftsmanship. Lee’s gently melodic voice and introspective songwriting style also evokes comparisons to the likes of such ’70s artists as Jim Croce and James Taylor, while "Night Train” has echoes of J.J. Cale ("I been workin’ on a night train, drinkin’ coffee, takin’ cocaine”). He is ably abetted here by the production work of Barrie Maguire and tasteful accompaniment of his band, one that includes Canadian pedal steel ace Greg Leisz. The strummed ukulele adds a charming olde-thyme feel to "Sweet Pea,” while the poignant "Careless” is another album highlight. Nothing revolutionary going on here, but this disc will suit quiet pensive winter evenings just fine. (Blue Note)