frank lee
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frank lee


Band Americana Acoustic


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


It ain't bluegrass - The Aspen Times


Where'd you Come From (Rounder Records),
Waiting on the Gravy Train (Rounder Records),
Artseen, independant release,2004
Two Mules, with Adam Tanner, Old97wreckords
Going Down The Track With A Chicken On My Back.


Feeling a bit camera shy


A passion for traditional songs and tunes from the rural South has fueled Frank's love of performing for the past 30 years. As a founding member of the Freight Hoppers, he has shared this passion with audiences all over the United States and Canada, as well as much of Northern Europe. He presents a range of old-time music that spans from raw Blues from the Mississippi delta, to the hillbilly music recorded in the South in the 1920's.

Growing up just south of Atlanta, Frank recalls hearing stories about the exploits of his banjo-playing grandfathers, as well as hearing about Fiddlin' John Carson and Riley Puckett. As a kid a neighbor introduced him to the music of Ralph Stanley, Frank became fascinated by the banjo. Immediately after high school graduation, Frank broke his femur in a motorcycle racing accident. His father bought him a banjo to pass the time in traction, and Frank's been playing ever since.

Frank began giving banjo lessons while he was in art school, and in the mid-80's started traveling with Clearwater, a bluegrass band that toured throughout the U.S. and released an acclaimed album, Willow of Time (produced by Rhonda Vincent). His focus gradually moved toward older, more archaic styles of Southern music. Clawhammer banjo styles took his attention away from the slick 3 finger bluegrass styles.

A few years later Frank moved to Bryson City, NC to take a job playing music for the tourists on the Great Smoky Mountain Railway, where he met fiddler David Bass. The two of them began playing old-time music at the train depot in Bryson City, and the Freight Hoppers stringband grew out of this gig. The daily work of the depot created a particularly tight band sound, and the group placed first in the stringband competition at the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival (a.k.a. Clifftop), appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, and signed on with Rounder Records.

The Freight Hoppers toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, released three albums, and achieved a level of public recognition previously unheard of for a modern old-time band. Frank's old-time banjo playing can be heard on the three Freight Hopper albums, as well on a Freight Hoppers live concert video. He has a banjo instructional video out on Homespun Video. Two more recent cds, Artseen and Two Mules are available also. Slide guitar has become a part of Frank's concerts. A 1932 National Steel Duolian was added to the arsenal of banjos, along with a love for the oldest recorded blues players from the South, Son House, Willie Brown, and Blind Willie Johnson. Spirituals and blues round out a performance of unique arrangements of Old-time music from the deep Southeast.