"My New Moon"
BOTTOM LINE One great protest song — "Crooked" — and solid everything else.
A lot of singers have put out angry music in the Trump era, but Amos Lee may have written the first great protest song: "Crooked," a smoldering, darkly humorous hymn about a "crooked leader on a crooked stage" who "seems to think he's standing tall." Lee, 41, a veteran Philadelphia singer-songwriter who has worked with Norah Jones and Willie Nelson, does not absolve himself (and, by extension, the rest of us) from blame in the song: "Turns out that I'm crooked, too," he sings, in his understated rasp.
The rest of "My New Moon" (Dualtone Music) is pristinely written, arranged and performed, of a piece with Lee's seven previous albums, notably 2013's hit "Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song." It begins with "All You Got Is a Song," in which an R&B orchestra with fantastic backup vocalists empathizes with Lee's chorus about singing away the pain, and peaks with a going-home anthem about Louisville, Kentucky.
Lee has spent 15-some years perfecting a soothing rock-and-soul style in the same ballpark as younger contemporaries Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff, but of all the strong material on "My New Moon," it's "Crooked" that suggests a potent new direction.