Herald rating: * * * *

Inevitably for this Amos Lee debut, because of the Norah Jones association - he opened for her, she appears playing piano here and her partner Lee Alexander produced and plays on this, - some writers have framed this soulful singer-songwriter as the Norah-guy.

Yet references for Lee are much wider - Paul Simon, Dobie Gray and Ben Harper all come to mind.

Despite a cast list which includes a cellist, mandolin player, drummers, and a Hammond organist, this is a quiet album (in that he is like Norah) which is out of the early singer-songwriter 70s school married with southern soul.

Given the prevailing interest in songwriters - Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter - Lee should find a ready audience, yet he is much more convincing and heartfelt than the present crop.

Arms of Woman has a barely suggested Otis Redding feel, Give It Up chugs on a Hammond groove, Colours has a James Taylor delivery, and Bottom of the Barrel is back-porch finger-pickin blues.

On Soul Suckers he takes a swipe at the music industry. This comes a little early in what seems to have been a dream run, but its cautionary note indicates Lee has deep currents within him.

This album was original titled All My Friends (after the lovely closer), but Lee was wise to avoid the suggestion he was riding anyone's coat-tails. He is his own man, and a fine singer-songwriter.Label: Blue Note