“Objects may be closer than they appear.” This is the constant warning
that we are given every time we look in those mirrors to see what we
are leaving behind, just as it should be a warning on the back of any
of Lee Simpson's albums. The heart-spilling lyrics and stark musical
beauty remind us that no matter how far down the road you go, it just
might not be far enough. It is a rare treat to hear work so firmly
rooted in tradition while unapologetically breaking new artistic
ground at every turn and each fork in the road.
Raised in the farm land and river country of California's northern San
Joaquin Valley, Lee is a third generation bluegrass picker with a
songwriting style reminiscent of Americana root's Bluegrass artists
such as Gillian Welch, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle or
Townes Van Zandt. Haunted, intelligent and beautiful, Simpson's music
leaves the listener knowing that they are hearing a true American
original who has, and will, make any sacrifice for the integrity of
his songs. Humility and a lifetime's worth of hard mileage ring
through every note.
Lee is currently preparing to record a new studio album which is to be
released in early 2016 on Vina Loam Records, and it's about time too.
His most recent solo effort is the 2011 release "Way Out in the Dark",
which was recorded in the hills of Northern New Mexico with
producer/engineer Jono Manson at the helm. "Way Out in the Dark"
vividly showcases both the back-porch acoustic and full-tilt electric
sides of Simpson's musical personality, the common thread being his
distinctive tenor, inventive guitar playing, and free-spirited, "no
rules" songwriting style, which are always found front and center.
Lee Simpson is a captivating performer in his own right who has also
toured with the likes of Wilco, Steve Earle, Yonder Mountain String
Band, Rosanne Cash, Phil Lesh, Taj Mahal, Los Lobos, The Mother Hips,
Govt. Mule, The Black Crows, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Willie
Nelson, Ricki Skaggs, Jorma Kaukonen, Merle Saunders, John Prine, Hank
Williams III, Bonnie Raitt, Roger McGuinn, Dan Timinski and Union
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Created: March 8, 2016, 12:34 a.m.
Last Modified: June 2, 2016, 6:07 a.m.