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QUICK SPINS: February 2012

The Richard Thompson Band, Amos Lee

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* The Richard Thompson Band, Live at Celtic Connections (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Richard Thompson gets plenty of praise — and deservedly so — for his guitar playing, but he’s also a solid singer and songwriter, not to mention an amiable and funny frontman. All of his skills are on display in the DVD Live at Celtic Connections, which was filmed in January 2011 at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland.

The focus of the concert is Thompson’s 2010 album, Dream Attic, but he throws in great versions of some old favorites, too, such as “Wall of Death,” which gets a huge lift from multi-instrumentalist Pete Zorn‘s harmony vocals. Crisp, clean sound, simple stage lighting and a nice mix of long shots and close-ups make for a thoroughly watchable show. Included as bonus tracks are two Thompson solo performances from the 2011 Cambridge Folk Festival.
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* Amos Lee, As the Crow Flies (Blue Note Records)
A sequel of sorts to acoustic soulster Amos Lee‘s 2011 album, Mission Bell, this new six-song EP features the same artwork, packaging, musicians and stripped-down approach as its full-length predecessor. Nothing on As the Crow Flies reaches the same heights as “Windows Are Rolled Down” or “Flower,” but there is value to these Mission Bell sessions holdovers, particularly “Simple Things” and “Say Goodbye.”

— By Chris M. Junior