Articles & Reviews

"Blue Roux" Wes is Lee's eighth studio album, with ten original compositions. This begins with singing, which depending on the composition guitar, resonator, banjo, tuba, cornet and / or washboard be added. Lee does this extremely skillfully fingerpickend in "Shake" and "Every Night" on resonator and with many frightening, transcendent slides in "Legend Of The 12:05 and" Chains That Bind "and slide guitar in" Goin 'Away ". Five songs, a singer with a guitar. Five different tracks, five different rhythms, each with a story. The other five songs are compositions with additional tools, making them more contemporary look, but still remain pure and rootsy. With "Howlin 'you are in Cuba to look at the stars," Rest Your Pony "takes you on a mule through the Appalachians, in" Hold On Tight "a brass band on a street corner is to entertain the passers-by," House Party "is a cajun party and" Tell Me "is blowing on a sultry afternoon in New Orleans.

Wes Lee's "Blue Roux" is cooking jargon. A roux is a kitchen term for a simple mixture that is employed to add thickness and taste to a meal. Lee uses a roux successfully blues in his music for the same reason. This solo musician is alone able to bring a whole band on taste and consistency, with contemporary songs that remain rootsy and bluesy. Are you a fan of acoustic blues roots, then Wes Lee, an artist who can not miss in your collection!

Wes Lee: A True Disciple of the Blues – A Homecoming to a Listening Crowd


wes lee banner
A few years ago, The Line’s photographer Stephen Anderson was the first of us to learn of bluesman and American roots musician Wes Lee. It was at a show at the famous Julep Room in Ocean Springs, MS.

In 2014, we were fortunate enough to see Lee perform with fellow accommplished blues musicians – Rambling Steve Gardner, Libby Rae Watson and Bill Steber as they were touring across the Deep South as ‘The House Party & Traveling Road Show.”

hp5Wes Lee in 2014 at the Mary C. in Ocean Springs, MS (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

All those associated with the Traveling Road Show are a highly qualified link to the history of the blues and its many memorable (and often, not so remembered) bluesmen.

During the 2014 tour, we were able to see the Traveling Road Show a number of times, including at the one-of-a-kind “Birdie’s Roadhouse” (north of Bogalusa, LA). The Line even wrote an article about it; one we highly enjoyed doing.

Since that tour, The Line has seen Lee perform, solo, several times at places such as Jack’s by the Tracks (Pascagoula, MS), Ben Kaufman’s Irish Coast Pub (Gulfport, MS), and at the L.A. “Lower Alabama” Songwriters Festival (Fairhope, AL).

Music is nothing new to Lee; it’s deeply rooted in Lee’s family and upbringing. After growing up in Mobile, AL, Lee traveled with a huge band in the early years. The money and road took its toll, which is common for traveling musicians – Lee was no different, but he never lost that spark for his love of music.

Eventually, Lee’s attention shifted towards performing solo as a blues performer. He had the natural ability for writing original material and “the smarts” to learn what the blues masters were providing its hungry and ambitious students.

20150627-SCA_4024Wes Lee at The Listening Room in Mobile, AL (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

One of many things we can appreciate about Lee – unlike several wannabe bluesmen and women, there was never some “fly by the night” decision to pick up a guitar, learn four or five songs, enter a high profile contest with hopes of no one noticing his or her lack of the human side of the blues. These days I guess, when one sells their soul to the devil, it’s sponsored by Chicken McNuggets served with BBQ sauce and a large Pepsi-Cola (since Coke is the “real thing”).


* (a tiny note: There’s nothing wrong with contests, but sadly, the best musicians are often overlooked instead for flashier less qualified musicians. Muddy Waters, B..B. King, Son House would, likely, not even win one of these contests. I don’t think any song from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack would or should be considered a credible blues choice, do you?)

Lee is not only an amazing guitarist, but a student of everything that came before. He gives praise and honor where it’s due. Yes, he most certainly is a “True Disciple of the Blues”.

Lee’s impressive body of work is showcased on several releases. His latest “Blue Roux” continues with songs that fit appropriately with his musical body of work. Drawing from his own life’s experiences provide evidence of his first rate songwriting ability.

On Friday. June 26, 2015, Wes Lee was scheduled to perform at one of Mobile, Alabama’s latest music venues, “The Listening Room”. When I mention it, so as not be confused with The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, I’ll call this one, The Listening Room of Mobile, Alabama. What Jim Pennington is doing with his place at 78 St. Francis Street in downtown Mobile is right on track in what is needed for the city. Mobile and surrounding areas are quickly becoming known for its music quality venues with an emphasis on “listening” (e.g.,The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in nearby Silverhill, AL.).

The audience that filled all the seats and tables at Pennington’s Listening Room were there to listen and enjoy the one-time Mobilian, Wes Lee, as he performed two sets of music. This was his first time to perform solo in Mobile after several years. The night was somewhat of homecoming and the people in the audience were listening.

We encourage everyone to visit the Wes Lee official website, his social media sites and by all means purchase his music. If you get the opportunity to see him perform live, do yourself a favor and do so. Also, he will be returning to the road with the House Party & Traveling Road Show in the very near future.

The Listening Room of Mobile, AL has several musicians booked to perform. Pennington, a huge fan of music, has many good ideas in store for the venue too. The Line encourages all to go see for yourself what makes the place special and watch it continue to move in the right direction. We wish the very best for success of the venue as it continues to grow. We are all winners, if that success is met. Thanks Jim!

……and thank you, Wes. It was a real pleasure to visit with you again.

Additional Photos



Click Here for Wes Lee’s Original Website.
Click Here to Like His Facebook Page.
Click Here to Purchase His Music.

Click Here for The Listening Room’s Official Website.
Click Here to Like The Listening Room at Facebook.

Related Article
Acoustic House Party & Traveling Road Show Comes To Birdie’s Roadhouse and Tours The South


© The Southland Music Line. 2015. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line



Coastal Noise Goes Live at The Shed with Bluesman Wes Lee

The Southland Music has enjoyed a good relationship with Stefan Lawson and Coastal Noise since the beginning of 2015. We have traveled and seen lots of great music together and, hopefully this is only the begin

Lawson is a musician, photographer, blogger and host of the highly successful podcast “Coastal Noise”.  A wide range of topics are discussed at Coastal Noise – politics, social issues, movies, travel, history and yes, music.


                                                                                   Wes Lee with Stefan Lawson
I have personally had the privilege of appearing on the podcast to discuss the history of music along the Gulf Coast and The Line’s travels in search of new and exciting music. Every opportunity on Coastal Noise has been memorable and a chance to learn others’ insights and appreciation for music, as well as a variety of subjects.

On November, Friday the 13th in 2015 on what was billed as “Bad Luck Blues ” Lawson, himself a student of the blues, sat down with blues musician, Wes Lee at The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS aka Hwy 57 & I-10 Crossroads* (see footnote).

Lawson and Lee spent approximately an hour or more discussing Lee’s musical journey as a young traveling jazz musician from southern Alabama to one of today’s increasingly more popular musicians dedicated to the blues and American roots music. As a solo artist, he can be seen performing regularly in venues everywhere; and as part of the highly successful Jericho Road Show along with Rambling Steve Gardner, Bill Steber and Libby Rae Watson, he brings his style of music to an ever-growing fanbase.


                                                                            Stefan Lawson with Wes Lee during Coastal Noise Podcast #53

Lee has been featured in two articles at The Southland Music Line entitled: “Wes Lee: A True Disciple of the Blues – A Homecoming to a Listening Crowd” (July, 2015) and “Acoustic House Party & Traveling Road Show Comes To Birdie’s Roadhouse and Tours The South” (Sept. 2014).

The conversation at The Shed between Lawson and Lee was quite a joy to hear (and see live). So much was discussed which helps me further appreciate Wes Lee – the musician, performer, historian, family man and friend.


                                                                                    Wes Lee with Stefan Lawson Live at The Shed

Following the sitdown live podcast discussion, Lawson joined Lee for a performance of some of their favorite blues classics and several original numbers, both have personally written.

The Southland Music Line’s Stephen Anderson (photographer) and Robby Amonett (artist) also attended the event.

CLICK HERE to check out Coastal Noise Podcast #53
(Podcast will be added shortly)

                                                                                                                       Stefan Lawson

                                                                                                                       Stefan Lawson

A Special thanks to photographer/live music organizer Fred Salinas and The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint.

*“Hwy 57 & I-10 Crossroads”: a name given to The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS by Johnny Cole of The Southland Music Line. The Line frequently mentions this popular crossroads place known for its association with great music.

Click Here for Wes Lee’s Original Website
Click Here to Like Wes Lee on Facebook
Click Here to Purchase the Music of Wes Lee.
Click Here for Coastal Noises’ Original Website
Click Here to Like Coastal Noise on Facebook
Click Here for The Shed’s Original Website
Click Here to Like The Shed on Facebook

Related Articles:
*  Wes Lee: A True Disciple of the Blues – A Homecoming to a Listening Crowd
*  Acoustic House Party & Traveling Road Show Comes To Birdie’s Roadhouse and Tours The South
* The Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival 2015: Another Exciting Year!


                                                                                                                                Wes Lee

                                                                                       © The Southland Music Line. 2015. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line 
Interview with Signature MagazineWes Lee : Getting to the Roots of his own musical tree by Mik Davis, Signature 
​Mississippi is fast becoming home to a new generation of Blues performer. The proverbial “bluesman” roamed from town to town, picking up a gig here or playing a house party there. Today’s local blues artists often color within those same lines. Wes Lee is no stranger to Hattiesburg’s growing legion of music fans. As a guitarist, he has electrified audiences for years with his band while his solo gigs provide an earthiness that takes his tunes beyond their bluesy roots to encompass other styles of music.
​“Blues music is very important because it calls on basic human emotion,” Lee explained. “Originally, I was drawn to roots music because that is what my father played. From an early age, I could tell they were improvising as though they were creating art. Like a painter, their brush strokes created emotions.”
​Usually, with most budding artists, there is one work that registers that lightbulb moment. Lee could recount no single song that inspired him to play, instead taking a more holistic view of blues music. “I believe you can hear truth and fire over any manufactured sound, and that’s what I always listen for. Even more so now.” However, Lee does prefer to mine the past. “The more I dig, and research the old music, I follow the chain starting in the present and go backwards. For example, we go from Eric Clapton to Muddy Waters to Robert Johnson to Son House to Charley Patton to Blind Joe Taggert and on and on! I find that the old music is just as relevant and the ideas that came out were so exciting  and folks are still trying to figure these songs out.”
​Although Lee draws upon the wealth of experience in the rich history of American music, Lee’s live show is largely inspired by the moment he walks out on stage. “My shows are totally off the cuff,” Lee explained. “I have an idea of what I want to present, so I will have tunes rattling around in my head. However, my belief is that the artist and the audience are sharing a moment together, So we create the moment together. I pay attention to the audience , give them something familiar and teach them something new as well. And both those things can be original music, it’s all in how you present it.”
​Lee just completed a “house to house” tour of Mississippi with Libby Rae Watson, Rambling Steve Gardner and Bill Steber.  He describes it as a “blast.” “I honestly enjoyed everything from the music to how everyone interacted with the crowds to hearing the stories of all their experiences. It was great for me because I got to hear the stories about Jessie Mae Hemphill, Joe Callicote, and Sam Chatmon. Everyone in the group knew them. I received a living history lesson.”
​With the completion of this traveling road show, Lee next heads back to the studio​to begin work on his seventh album. “It is shaping up to be a split album between solo tunes and those for acoustic ensemble. As far as my records, one has been a very singer-songwriter oriented, one was recorded in a shack in the old style, one with a full band as a tribute to the Memphis sound, and another recorded in one of the most famous studios in the world (Studio in the Country). For this one, I have in my head the string band sounds of bygone eras-horns, banjos, primitive percussion, who knows what all. So, it will have combo stuff on it, be fun to listen to and dissect parts, but will still allow me to tour solo.”
​While Lee works on this album, he has a full slate of local gigs so  you have many chances to see him perform. Just as his band or merely Lee by himself take the stage, know that he is –in his words-“trying to dial in my radio, thinking about my sound, and always thinking about the traditions I represent.”
Musical conversations with Mik Davis

Question.The blues is a very important music to not only the state of Mississippi, but also the world.
       Answer.Yes, Roots music is very important because it calls on basic human emotion.

Question.  However, it only seems to attract a certain brand of player.  How were you first drawn to it?  Was there a piece of music, something you heard or maybe even saw?
       Answer. I was drawn to Blues and Roots music because that was what my father played. And I could tell at an early age, when they were improvising that they were creating art, in the way that they crafted, it was like a painter. As an artist paints, the brush strokes paint emotions, for the musicians, the notes, placements, tonalities all create and push emotions. You can hear the power. 
No, there was never ONE SONG that did it for me. I believe you can hear truth and fire over any manufactured sound, and that's what I always listen for. Even more so now.

Question. Blues players like yourself commonly draw from a well of experience while they play much like a method actor might. 
      Answer. Yes, the life influences the music. You gain more experience the more you live.

Question. Without giving away the rabbit in your hat, how do you prepare for a show?  Is everything charted out to a certain point and then you take an offramp to follow the immediate inspiration to play?
     Answer. My shows are totally off the cuff, I have an idea of what I want to present so I will have tunes rattling around in my head, but my belief is that the artist and the audience are sharing a moment together. So we create a moment together. I like to keep it all in the moment. Part of being a good entertainer is to pay attention to the audience, give them something familiar, and teach them something new as well. And both of those things can be original music, it's all in how you present it.
Right before the gig starts I like to walk away and get real quiet, try to dial in my radio, think about my sound, think about the traditions I represent. 

Question. As a bluesman in Mississippi, what players do you continue to find inspiration from and more importantly are there players whose lightning you find yourself still trying to bottle? 
     Answer. I continue to find inspiration the more I dig and research all the old music. I call it Digging in the roots. Seeing where we are on the branch of the tree. If you follow the chain starting present and go back you get Clapton to Muddy to Robert J to Son House to Charley Patton to Blind Joe Taggert and on and on!!! With all kinds of off chutes. It's very exciting!!! I find that the old music is just as relevant and the ideas that came out were so exciting, and folks are still trying to figure out the stuff.
       As far as bottling the lightning, I try to pull from everyone I listen to new and old alike, but always make sure it's me when it comes out. I'm not trying to "be or sound like someone else", only myself.

Question. How was your recent tour of "houses" across the state?  
     Answer. It was a blast!!! 

Question. I feel like you being with a traveling group of players probably not only was a boatload of fun - but also somewhat educational.
      Answer. Very. Everything from the music to how everyone interacted with the crowds to hearing the stories of all their experiences. It was great for me because I got to hear stories about Jessie May Hemphill, Joe Callicut, Sam Chatmon, because everyone in the group knew them. I got a living history lesson and that was great. Oh yea, and the shows were big fun as well!! Hahaha
We played some beautiful theaters.

Question. Are you working on a new record?  Any details to divulge?  Specific guests perhaps?
      Answer. Yes I'm working on a new album. It is shaping up to be a split album between solo stuff and acoustic ensemble stuff. 
As far as my solo records, one has been very singer-songwriter oriented, one recorded in a shack in the old style, one with a full band as a tribute to the Memphis sound, and another recorded in one of the most famous studios in the world (Studio in the Country). For this one, I have in my head the string band sounds of by gone eras. Horns, banjos, primitive percussion, who knows what all. So it will have combo stuff on it, be fun to listen to and dissect parts, but will still allow me to tour solo.

Question. Secrets and special guests?
       Answer. Hhmm, there is gonna be sousaphone on some of it. 

Question. When you write, what do you write about?  
      Answer. My life experiences. I'm not so much of a topic writer

Question. Are you playing a lick and just inspired to create something around it?  
       Answer. Sometimes live with a band, you just want to jam a groove and let it simmer like a good gumbo. Then grab some lyrics from your bag, add a little this little of that. Musical conversations that convey emotions. That goes back to creating the vibe with the audience. The awesomeness of live music.
But a solo studio recording, to me, is all about the song and the story you are trying to tell at that moment. 

Question. Are you even writing sometimes when you play live, making notes to remember a certain part or even reviewing performances for moments that you may see in hindsight as amazing (like John Coltrane, who used to regularly review his tapes and find the parts where he had a sort of "out-of-body" experience and did not remember)
       Answer. I write all the time, and usually always record my shows. Even if just on my phone for my own reference. As a friend of mine says "you don't know how you look til you get your picture took".

Question. How do you differ with and without a band?  Do you feel more at home with one compared to the other?
        Answer. Playing solo is like flying without a net, no one to rely on. It's absolute freedom. You, the music, the audience, uninhibited as to where you can take it at any given point. Playing with an ensemble allows you to have musical conversations back forth as you create and that's a very powerful thing. So they are both great, each in their own way. And I feel it helps me be complete in pursuing the music.
Rootstime Wood & Steel review...

Wes Lee began his musical career as a trombone player, as his father had played before him. He then acted as "Mr. Tone & The Blues Funk Revival "(1997-2002). After having spent three years in St. Louis, he returns with a series of songs back to Mississippi, where he is now living. Solo and with different bands Wes Lee is a man of many talents, not only blues and funk, but also other genres like rockabilly (and even disco) can plum. He can now look back on a musical career spanning more than twenty-five years, in many different cities and refer to all talented musicians, with whom he has worked as Tab Benoit, Tinsley Ellis, Vasti Jackson, Kenny Neal, Rory Block, Sonny Landreth and others. Currently he acts more than two hundred times a year, solo or accompanied by "Blue Roux" on occasion.

In his new EP Wes Lee brings six original songs. The title suggests what awaits us: a reasonable portion handle sound, acoustic charged. The production of this EP is done by Wes Lee himself in Bogalusa. Lee is accompanied by Walt Littleton (percussion) and Al "Fish" Herring (piano). In opener1 "Sight For Sore Eyes" Lee immediately gives all his stomping feet to the rhythm. He wants to achieve with this song that the listeners not only listen to the lyrics and music, but they also reflect the extent to which the saying in this song also on their own is applicable. In the second number 2 "My Gal" with the playful tune, Lee goes to investigate. He looks for the power that lies as a drug in love. The provocative in his singing arouses especially with many a smile (or smirk) on. The third upbeat song is called 3 "Will You Be Waiting". Wes Lee tries to convince you to choose, for music when no one is waiting for them. Listener here 4 "Gray Sky Blues" is a nostalgic song as Lee, with the way he plays guitar, going back in time. This song is definitely the cream of the crop for the real Wes Lee fingerpicking fans. The fifth track "Take Me Back" is an ode to his home. Lee wants everyone to know his real home: feel the sand, catch a fish, feel good, laugh and dance there until early morning with beautiful girls ... The valve 6 "Ebb & Flow" is my favorite song of this EP. This acoustic track allows you to once again enjoy the talents, while melancholic note ebbs.

In the new "Wood & Steel" album by Wes Lee, the musician takes the listeners back to the essence of music: feeling good while listening. Wes Lee wants us feel comfortable and at home here several times and refers to in his songs. Much is contained in your heart and in the memories we share together. Wes Lee combines in his music the fingerpicking with slides, a soulful bluesy engaging and dynamic whole, which many music lovers will delight very quickly. Now this is a the ultimate Christmas album.

Eric Schuurmans
Wes's preview of his 6th album, Wood & Steel

Wes Lee, Wood & SteelThe title of this new release brings to mind things made of wood and steel: train tracks, boats, buildings, but in this case, it refers to guitars. The wood bodies, steel bodies, wood necks, and steel strings are used by Wes to create a variety of unique songs from only six strings and 12 frets. If I had to give it a genre, Iʼd choose Roots because the creation of the music is a grounding, a nourishing of the soul, as he sinks deep into the source to produce some tasty fruits for the ears.
“Sight For Sore Eyes” has slide work and his always stomping foot in a song telling the listener about a person he has missed.
“My Gal” adds piano to his guitar finger picking and his vocals are more playful and conversational, almost conspiratorial like when he responds to an enthusiastic audience at his live performances. This song lets you know where he gets his swagger.
“Will You Be Waiting” features more throaty vocals and a faster pace on guitar.
“Gray Sky Blues” is the ultimate Wes Lee style of finger picking and slide in a song that has you wondering if he is talking about sunshine or a girl.
“Take Me Back Home” with the addition of percussion gives a nice rhythm to vocals that remind the listener of a spiritual journey. It connects the listener with the place that means “home” to them.
“Ebb and Flow” shows that songwriting is more than making rhymes and that a true artist can say more with his instrument that is a part of him. The best sounds are pure and you canʼt get any better than slide on a metal body resonator. It gives the feel of an ocean tide.
Every song in this production has the theme of waiting for something or searching for something, a definite longing in his voice and guitar playing. The collection has the feel that Wes has come over to play on your back porch with songs that bring you in as family while he shares with you what is most important in his life.

Bella Moore, Freelance Publicist
Wes was featured in Legends magazine.

Photography by Ken Flynt
Article by Eric Stone

Wes Lee is a musician who comes by his trade honestly.

Is he a bluesman? Sure. Folk artist? Yep. Jazz aficionado? You bet. R&B, Dixieland, classical, rock, country, gospel, disco – as long as music has got soul, honesty, authenticity and a big sound, he’s all for it.

His father was a a trumpet player, a band director and a member of the Alabama Hall of Fame. Lee started by playing horns, mostly trombone. And the music that played in his home was all over the map.

“As a kid I got a feeling for music in general. I love the dynamics of it, music that moves, it doesn’t matter what kind it is,” he says. “The ebb and flow and movement, every song is like a movie with an intro, a middle and a climax. Every great song is like that. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. I like a lot of really loud bombastic stuff. I love Stan Kenton.”

By that, Lee doesn’t mean he wants his music exploding out of a wall of Marshall amps at near nuclear bomb decibel levels, but whether it’s an acoustic guitar and his own big voice, or the nine-piece band with a horn section that he started out with, he wants his sound large.

“I played horns, went on the road with my first band. I didn’t even think about guitar, we had a great guitar player who played everything. We were wide open. It started out with us going to make fun of the Blues Brothers. By the time I graduated high school we were playing all the time – Stevie Wonder to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The horn section would play Rush, then we’d play a Peter Frampton tune. The horns might start with a four-part chorale that sounded like being in church. It was really exciting. But it was really expensive to travel with that big a band.”

So he ended up in Meridian. “And there was nothing going on, no community jazz band, no horn bands or anything. I didn’t have an outlet, and I was getting jumpy, so I bought a guitar. I didn’t want to know anything about it, just whack away at it and see what kind of noise I could get out of it.

“The sound is freedom of expression. It’s no holds barred. A really good band or musician is just going, not thinking about it. Just get out of the way and let it rip. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. When Otis Redding would get cranked up on something [his] rhythm section didn’t know where he was going, it was flying without a net. That’s why it still connects.”

When he’s playing, Lee connects to his music with his eyes closed. “I try to dial it in, like a radio channel, just perceive it. I like the sound big and full. I want my monitors surrounding me like a cloak. I want to feel it. I play resonator guitars that are loud and powerful and balanced. Even when I sit by myself they are big and full and I sing strong. It’s not the power of [volume], it’s the power of the soul. It’s all soul music. Improvisational music is all soul music.”

That said, Lee is a singer/songwriter and like other artists, he has a method to his madness.

“There’s topics that are timeless. Turn on a TV, open a book, go see a movie – those stories are there and they work. [But] be honest. Write about your own experiences or when you write about someone else channel it through your own observations. Don’t just try to come up with something, use your eyes, ask your own questions, follow that.”

That’s also how he keeps his songs fresh, even when they are rooted in music with deep traditions and conventions like the blues or folk. “If you’re honest with it and put it in your own words it’s always going to be different. It’s like the sunset is the sunset, but it’s still different every day. While a group of people might like the same kind of music, might like the same things, it’s not going to be the same to each of them. They all hear it and see it in their own way.

“I don’t have one set way of writing songs. It sounds clichéd but driving certain roads can create a drum pattern in the tires and I might start humming along to it and that might lead to something else and maybe then to a lyric going along with the [rhythm]. I don’t have a set pattern or style. If it’s got soul and I like it, I want to play it.”

A snowstorm is partly responsible for his recent album, “The Shack Sessions.”

“I was playing in a club in Greenwood, staying out in a cabin and got [sort of] snowed in. I had a two-track recorder in my van so I brought it inside, set up facing a corner of the room like they say Robert Johnson did, and played. It was all unplanned. It was really cold and I couldn’t go anywhere so I figured I should just do this. They were all songs from when I was trying to find my way, learning guitar and the people I listened to. I had to turn the heater off when I was recording because it made too much noise. I’d play a song, get too cold to play and turn the heater back on. If you listen on headphones you can hear the wind howling in the background. All this music is what got me right here right now. And I ended [the session] with a song I wrote myself in that same style.”

“Six Pack of Soul,” Lee’s other latest release, brings him back to a full band complete with a horn section churning out a popping Memphis-style sound.

The idea of a six-pack, inspired by an old Otis Redding record called “Soul Sixpack,” is a concession to the current market. “I’m an old-fashioned guy who wants [albums,] not just your signature song, but your other stuff. But other folks don’t like that.” These days people download music by the song more often than by the album, “like that fancy beer where you go to the market and put together your own six-pack.”

Singing and songwriting aside, Lee plays an estimated 200 gigs a year, the bread and butter of his existence. “I want it live. I want to hear it the way it sounds when you’re really there. Live with no net. That’s the great joy and beauty of it.”