Lee Boys CD Release with Special Guest, Zach Deputy
The Stage (map)
Miami, FL, USA
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The Lee Boys – Sacred Steel
The Lee Boys are one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. This family group consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). Born and raised in Miami, each of The Lee Boys grew up in the church where their father and grandfather, Rev. Robert E. Lee, was the pastor and a steel player himself.
“Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations. Influenced by the Hawaiian steel guitar fad of the 1930′s, brothers Willie and Troman Eason brought the electric lap steel guitar into the worship services of the House of God church in Jacksonville, FL. The Pentecostal congregation embraced the soulful sound, and over time this unique sound became the hallmark of the church. The pedal steel guitar was added to the mix and soon became the central instrument. The Lee Boys are part of the fourth generation of musicians in this faith.
This music form was totally unknown to the world outside the church until the mid 1990′s, when folklorist Robert Stone attended House of God services and recorded the music, as well as its history, contributing the name “sacred steel.” A series of compilations featuring artists such as Aubrey Ghent, Calvin Cooke and the Campbell Brothers, as well as the late Glenn Lee followed on legendary roots label Arhoolie Records, for whom The Lee Boys also record.
When The Lee Boys bring their joyous spiritual sound to the stage, audiences instantly recognize that this is not “sitting and listening” music: dancing, shouting out, and having fun are considered essential parts of their tradition. Founder and bandleader Alvin Lee explains “The inspiration and feeling that comes along with our music is the reason that people feel good. It is like the new music on the block and it’s just getting ready to explode!” It’s mostly original material, with a few standards and hymns the group “blueses up a little.” Audiences often dance, shout out, and always have a great time. In 2008-09 alone they performed for more than 250,000 music fans at festivals throughout the United States. In the process, their unique sound has attracted musical artists such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedeschi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue, Umphrey’s McGee, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toubab Krewe, Victor Wooten, The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin’ McCourys- all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them.
The press has caught on as well, as evidenced by the USA Today review of their set at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2008: “The Lee Boys, from Miami, rocked the blues tent with their rollicking ‘You’ve Got to Move.’ The song started slow and low but steadily picked up pace, taking on the feel and sound of a runaway train. As guitarist Roosevelt Collier plucked at his pedal steel guitar, an electric guitar mounted on a stand and played from a sitting position, audience members danced in the aisles, jumped up and down and waved their arms to the mounting melody.” As well in March 2009, Billboard Magazine wrote: “The band’s dexterity with multiple genres is its strongest point; it combines folk, soul, funk, blues, country and gospel into upbeat, steel guitar-led performances that can’t help but inspire secular and sacred revelry.”
These engaging artists work well in a variety of venues ranging from intimate club settings to performing arts centers to large festival stages. Their music attracts audiences from the jamband, folk, blues and Gospel worlds. They’ve performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and will continue influencing audiences worldwide with their “sacred steel”. Their tour calendar includes over 100 major festival performances, including headline stops at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Memphis in May, Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Austin City Limits, Philadelphia Folk Festivals, MerleFest, DelFest, Wanee and All Good Festival. In December, 2008, the band debuted on national television with a rousing performance on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien that had the host jumping out of his chair and raving about the band.
The Lee Boys have been in the studio with The Travelin’ McCourys completing a joint album entitled “Meetin’ In The Middle” which illustrates their amazing bluegrass/sacred steel festival shows. The 6 song EP debuted at MerleFest 2010 and is now available.
More info: http://www.leeboys.com/
On his new release Another Day (Eusonia Records, 2011), Zach Deputy demonstrates his extraordinary ability to perform and record in multiple contexts and conveys the sensibilities of a mature singer/songwriter. Another Day offers another look at Zach Deputy and seeks to help him cross over into other audiences. Rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs, the music on this recording is best described as soulful rhythm and blues, with flavors of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder emerging in the swells, changes and modulations of the music, in the voice and even in the lyrical content. The record will appeal to fans of contemporary artists like Jack Johnson and Amos Lee, but the origins of the style and feel remain classic.
Recorded over 5 days in August 2010 at Mission Sound Recording in Brooklyn, NY, Another Day is the truest example of pure musicianship. As heard in this recording, Grammy winning producer Scott Jacoby and his team of musicians demonstrate that large budget recordings and “over-production” are simply not necessary. Drummer Graham Hawthorne (Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, David Byrne), bassist Al Carty (Lou Reed, Alicia Keys, Gavin DeGraw) and pianist / organist Will Buthod (Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, The Harlem Gospel Choir) and Zach Deputy met for the first time on day one of recording and– despite their diverse backgrounds– instantly clicked with each other and created the perfect landscape to support Zach’s songs.
In contrast to the music and feel of Another Day, Zach Deputy has made his mark thus far as a touring powerhouse. As a boy, the music of his Puerto Rican, Cruzan and Irish heritage was cooked up in the South Carolina heat. The Calypso rhythms and folk songs of St. Croix competed with the R&B / soul of pioneers like James Brown and Ray Charles for space on the family stereo. As Deputy honed his craft, a unique hybrid of these influences emerged, ultimately creating the signature Zach Deputy sound. To bring this sound to the stage, the big, impossibly upbeat South Carolinian with the infectious smile puts on a solo show– enhanced by looping technology– that is essentially a one man dance party offering up what he calls “Island-infused, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul” to the enthusiastic crowds of dancers who flock to clubs from coast-to-coast. It is these late night dance parties— more than 250 per year– that have made Zach Deputy one of the hottest up-and-coming performers on the camping festival circuit and “jam band” scene. For Zach, most days begin in a hotel room and end a couple of hours after walking off stage. The constant touring and the compelling live show may be the key to Zach’s success on the road, but it is an unlikely inspiration for Another Day, as there is little similarity between what fans have come to expect from Zach and what is offered up in this new record.
Thus, Another Day is an appropriately titled album, and it is truly an album in the classic sense— a collection of songs that come from the same time and place, inspired by the same muse. Reflective and introspective, it provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. Full of hope and anticipation of the promise of another day, a new day, it is a pivotal point in the career of a touring musician. Whereas it is a departure for Zach Deputy, it is one that he feels confident his fans can relate to, but it isn’t the end in itself. Deputy’s multi-faceted diamond gets one side polished in this offering, and it is a side that will shine brightly for a new audience.
More info: http://www.zachdeputy.com/
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