Breaks It Down
Put Together Music
The Reverend Shawn Amos was born the son of Wally Amos founder of the Famous Amos cookie brand. Amos attended film school at New York University and discovered the blues by reading Peter Guralnick’s book “Feel Like Going Home”. He traveled the south and fell in love with the music of Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. He released his debut recording “In Between” in 2002. Amos became an A & R executive at Rhino Entertainment; and Vice President of A& R at Shout! Factory where he specialized in DVD and audio titles for legacy artists. While working with Quincy Jones, Solomon Burke and others, he helped produce some Grammy nominated recordings.
Amos’ estranged mother Shirlee Ellis was a night club singer who committed suicide in 2003. In 2005 he conceived, wrote, and produced a tribute album “Thank You Shirl-ee May” also on Shout! Factory. In 2011 Amos followed up with a third album “Harlem”.
Amos has since become an ordained minister with The Universal Life Church. The Reverend Shawn Amos released “Tells It” in 2014 and followed up with 2015’s “The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You”.
This is Amos’ third album as a blues preacher; among the featured musicians are Michael Toles, guitar; Charles Hodges, keyboards; Leroy Hodges Jr., bass; and Steve Potts, drums. While driving through the south, this past spring, Amos was reminded of his color and of the songs of freedom. He has written or co-written five originals. “Moved” is a duet featuring Amos on harmonica and Chris “Doc” Roberts on guitar; it was recorded at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
On “2017”, recorded at Memphis’ Royal Studios, Amos is joined by The Hi-Rhythm Section. Influenced by both Curtis Mayfield, and Pops Staples, Amos gets into a groove.
“Hold Hands” is a plea for peace; while “Ain’t Gonna Name Names” is a fun tune recorded at the Ocean Studios in Burbank, California.
Amos’ “Freedom Suite” opens with “Uncle Tom’s Prayer”, a beautiful one minute civil rights song first recorded by The Freedom Singer’s Cordell Hull Reagon in the early 1960’s. Bukka White’s delta blues poem “Does My Life Matter” follows. The suite ends with a horn section on the funky “We’ve Got To Come Together” featuring a quote from Martin Luther King.
The only two covers are David Bowie’s 1972 hit “The Jean Genie”; and the closer “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” written by Nick Lowe in 1974 when he was with the band “Brinsley Schwarz”. The latter has also been recorded by Joe Louis Walker; Keb Mo’; The Holmes Brothers, and by Curtis Stigers as part of the soundtrack of the film “The Bodyguard”.
Amos combines personal experiences with social issues on this inspirational recording.
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