Marc Corey Lee
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Marc Corey Lee


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"Review- Jetset Deluxe"

I got an email from musician, Marc Corey Lee, asking me if I'd like to receive a copy of his latest CD, Jetset Deluxe. He's a regular reader at Vintage Rock, and based on the reviews I'd already written, he thought I might like to listen to his music. I've never been known to turn down anything free (that probably comes from being a broke college student) so of course I said, "send away." I'm a pretty open-minded girl and I've been known to let an assortment of different styles and genres of music creep into my vast CD collection and subconscious.

Today I received his CD via mail and a smile crossed my face. I love mail of every shape, size, and kind, as long as its not junk know, those 12 CDs for a penny offers that I've had to force myself to turn down; there has to be a hitch in such a great offer, hidden somewhere in microscopic fine print. Upon opening up the envelope, my first immediate impression of the CD cover was, "damn, this guy looks kind of like Chris Isaak." Which isn't a bad thing at all since Wicked Game is my all time favorite music video, and not for the anorexic model chick, I can assure you. As I flipped the case over, my doubts begin to emerge. With song titles like "Mister Heartache" and "South of San Antone," I silently groaned. This can't be a country CD, can it? Country music is the one genre of music I've been consistently disappointed with my entire life. Its impossible to escape from it because I live the center of mid-west hickville....La Porte City, Iowa.

When I was six, I think there were only two types of music I'd been exposed to: country music and classic rock. I could easily go from listening to Garth Brooks "Thunder Rolls" (originally sung by Tanya Tucker btw) to belting along with Robert Plant on "Heartbreaker." But as I got older it seemed as if all country music was being freakishly mutated into what I like to call "cowboy charictures." Girl country crooners turned into soulless, comically bad Britney Spears impersonators with Texas twang and Gucci cowboy boots. The men of country music also fell pray to fashion and tried to bring "edge" to their look by wearing wife beaters and big black, ten gallon hats. It was no longer about musical was about how many socks guys could shove in their skintight jeans, fashionably ripped in all the "right" places. While country musicians appearance changed drastically, their music seemed to de-evolve and turn into a bland mix of power ballads and soft rock.

So of course, that's what brought me to the rock n' roll path and led me to create this blog in the first place. I was trying to find a way to get as far away from the country music genre as possible. I vowed to always flip past CMT and never listen to any country albums that weren't from the 50's or 60's (unless it was Garth Brooks or Mary Chapin Carpenter.) So it took a lot of personal coaxing to get myself to put the disc into my CD player...but I did because I try never to judge music I'm supposed to review until after I give the entire disc a listening to.

The second I heard Marc's vocals, I knew that this was a musician with some serious chops. His voice reminds me of Roy Orbison mixed with a bit of John Denver and Chris Isaak thrown in for good measure. He does have all the basic properties of country music including steel guitars, but it doesn't make me feel like line dancing...all i want to do is get out my flowery skirt and twirl around my living room as if I was a ballerina from Little House on the Prarie. Listening to his songs, "Just One Moment" and "Cowboys and Angels" I got this relaxed feeling I get when I listen to Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely." Marc Corey Lee does not play grinding, grungy guitar rock. He also isn't an intense vocalist that wants to peel paint off the walls whenever he opens his mouth. Marc makes the kind of music you listen to when you're lazing around on a sunny day, drinking lemonade on your front porch and imagining what the puffy cloud shapes remind you of.

He even packs some edge into his more upbeat numbers. "Ghosts In Paradise" even had a James Bond-ish type of feel to it, evoking old spy sitcoms like Get Smart. "The First Thing" even has a bit of sarcasm and nihilism in its tone. With lyrics like " You're the last thing I dream of and the first thing I leave far behind" you know he's speaking from experience and not writing sugar coated sappy love songs like the horrible country cover of All-4-One's "I Swear." He can be romantic though, when he wants to be and I'm sure he has no trouble charming the ladies from stage with his tune, "Please." I almost swoon when he sings (in his very beautiful voice) "If this were another place and time I would give into you/ The promise of your kiss, your touch/ and making love to you."

I've listened to Jetset Deluxe a few times now, and I'm not sick of it all. It grows on you more each time you listen to it...kind of the way Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection affects me in subtly different ways each time I give it a spin on the hi-fi. Don't let the "country thing" steer you away Marc Corey Lee's music...He's got a great set of pipes, he writes his own music, knows how to play his six string and 12 string, and he reads Vintage Rock. Not too much to complain about, nothing at all comes to mind in fact. Thanks for sharing the music Marc!

If you'd like to learn more about Marc Corey Lee, or purchase Jetset Deluxe, visit his website:

- Vintage Rock Webzine, by Kristy Parker

"Marc Corey Lee Rides The Stardust Trail"

The first thing you notice about Californian Marc Corey Lee is the haircut. A short, junior executive spiked number, which compliments the small fashionable earring piercing the left lobe. The smooth thirty-something boyish features pin an intense, moody gaze, . .. which spells corporate rather than cowboy.

However, there is substance to this guy who collects Hank Williams' quotes and hoards Glen Campbell CDs.

With a worthy heritage starting at the famed North Hollywood Palomino Club and culminating in his latest independently released CD, Stardust Cowboy (Mountain Records) Lee is forging a determined musical career.

" I make music because I love it," muses Lee who recently opened for a 10,000 strong Mavericks crowd. "It still amazes me, all that applause for little songs that I wrote on a big piece of wood with six metal stings tied to the top." The big piece of wood is a Guild guitar, played in tribute to the memory of John Denver whom Lee has long admired.

A recent LA Music Awards "Country Artist Of The Year" winner, Lee wrote all ten songs on Stardust Cowboy. Music
AND lyrics, isn't that a rarity? "Only in Nashville," he laughs.
With two CDs to his credit and a hard working road band, the versatile Lee is not waiting on Music Row for cloning approval. Gene Harbrecht, music journalist for the Orange County Register, adds, " This guy's music flat out kicks tail ...its country but it's different."

The difference has created healthy overdue interest in the music. But it won't necessarily be Nash Vegas music primers who steal the deal with Lee. " We're in a real good position ...a bunch of labels have expressed interest in us ...but I want a certain level of artistic freedom."

Lee protects the freedom on this self-produced CD by having done all the artwork and music arrangements. A little like Garth who records, and then gives, the completed package to his music distributor? "I did the album the way I thought it should be, without undue interference", says Lee.

"Nashville does not give credit to the sophistication of the modern country audience. I find it interesting that the most successful artists who came out of the "Class of `91" - Alan Jackson, Clint Black and Dwight Yoakam - are guys who wrote their own material."

Lee, whose CD player spins Radney Foster in admiration and Buck Owens for inspiration is clearly enamoured by song writing. " But I only write when the mood strikes me; sometimes not for weeks or months. I have to be alone, and it has to be late."

Stardust Cowboy kick-starts with a Duane Eddy type twang and the radio-friendly, "Memphis Rain." The late nights and isolation become apparent on this disk, as it cuts through moods and styles all punctuated with a clear tenor voice.

The CD continues with its obvious Roy Orbison influences and a Chris Isaak textured sound. The music remains consistent.
Consistently good. The band plays a tight rhythmic undertow, which neither hampers nor hides the vocals. The musicianship, honed from a lengthy association with Lee, countless gigs, and strong song familiarity, receives a well-deserved nod from this reviewer.

Standout tracks include, "Crazy for crying," a lover's lament over departed romance that has the band riding the vocals in a frenzied race to the end. "Memphis Rain" if given the needed radio spins, has the ability to launch Lee to an assured future.

The Mavericks styled, " Heart of mine" is an accordion laced love song dripping with pathos and a lyrical structure that, again, highlights the talents of an accomplished writer.

Marc Corey Lee promotes one blazing ambition: to get his music to as many people as possible, and to be able to succeed enough to continue making music his own way.

Stardust Cowboy reinforces those possibilities.
- Australian Country Magazine

"OC Singer Paves Road To Stardom"

How can you sell a mere 100,000 records and call yourself a huge success?

Ask Marc Corey Lee, Orange County singer-songwriter who has been making waves for the past year with his album, "Stardust Cowboy." You see, Lee is not exactly taking the well-worn path to stardom. He's doing it his own way, and while that is often a recipe for failure in Nashville, so far it's working for him.

He contacted me last week to catch me up on his career. After signing with the William Morris Agency, Worldwide, Lee was able to land some bigger gigs, eventually playing a big show in Nashville that generated interest from radio, "which is even more important than the record labels themselves," he notes. And Lee has taken to the Internet, getting thousands of hits on his web site and, consequently, placing two songs from "Cowboy" on Americana and country charts. "As a result of our Internet success, we are now enjoying airplay in Australia, France, Belgium, Spain, Canada and New Zealand. Their appetite for American 'country' is rabid," Lee says. "Online sales of the CD are well into the thousands."

So Lee and his band are making plans to tour abroad soon. Lee says his management company calls his success "self-generated." And interest from radio has been so strong that he intends to bypass traditional labels and release, distribute and promote the album (including a radio single) with his own team.

"The interesting thing is that I can sell 100,000 copies of an album and call it an enormous success because of the profit percentage that I can earn vs. that with a traditional major label," Lee says.

The singer and his team plan a "full-scale" assault on radio in the next few months and will see where that leads. "It's the hard way, but I'm so determined to do things the way I want them that I feel this is the most effective way to accomplish that." It may be harder this way, but a lot of musicians go to Nashville and compromise their individuality to fit into the hit-making mold. It's good to see an artist who can succeed in transcending that process. Good luck, Marc.

Lee is playing several local dates in the next few months and I encourage you to check him out. He'll be at the Abilene Rose in Fountain Valley on March 23 at 8 p.m., The Swallows in San Juan Capistrano April 7-8 and again May 18-19, 8 p.m. for both shows. He'll be at the Country Rock Café in Mission Viejo on April 28 at 8 p.m. and Irvine Spectrum on May 26 at 7 p.m. - LA Times Orange County

"Stardust Cowboy Review"

"Here's the record I listened to all weekend; nine or a dozen times and I'm still getting a charge out of it listening again as I write this. The
vibration of guitar strings resonates in all our souls and this has
definitely got the vibes. A little Duane Eddy twang. A smidgen of Ventures and dashes of other kinds of licks that you connect with other favorite records from your own past. My 14 year old passed through the room Saturday and asked, 'What's that song? I've heard it before.' But he hadn't. I think that familiarity will happen to a lot of ears. That is a very good thing." - The Blue Sheet- Country Radio Consulting by Steve Warren

"Fax from Jom Barbee- Program Director, Radio One Networks"

TO: Mountain Records
FROM: Jim Barbee/ Radio One Networks
RE: Marc Corey Lee/ National Top 30 Countdown

Here they are. Hours 1, 2 and 3 of the Top 30 Countdown that airs Sunday afternoon on stations from Hawaii to Maryland and all points in between...

Everyone here absolutely loves the music, and they all want copies! Even the Alternative format jocks! Thanks for the opportunity to present some quality music to our listeners. If you need anything else, let me know.

I'll talk to you soon, Take care.

Jim Barbee
Program Director, Radio One Networks - Radio One Networks.

"Country Review Mag."

The overdue but welcomed message said it all: "George, it’s been a few years…"
The writer catching up with me recently was Marc Corey Lee. Back in harness with
his new album, Jetset Deluxe (Mountain Records), the California-based singer and
songwriter wanted to share the news.

Regular readers here will remember Lee from his 2001 debut, Stardust Cowboy. That album, which drew wide radio interest, ended snagging a Top 10 CD Of The Year award with In Review, a Nashville music magazine, and then the single, "Memphis Rain," made the in-flight playlist for several major American airline carriers. Lee also had the envy of claiming a Best New Artist award at the Los Angeles Music Awards.

For a kid who picked up his first guitar at 14 and has made a life-long commitment to his own original music, all with the rooted ambition of getting it to as many people as possible, well, the silence was obvious. So, what happened?

"Since then [the first album], we toured for a while with Dwight Yoakam and a slew of others," says Lee. "I licensed several songs for films and commercial projects, and I took a couple of years off to be with my young family."

Now Marc Corey Lee is back. And the good news is the break and the time-out for the new family has paid rewarding dividends. The absence has allowed Lee the chance to focus on his driving passion – songwriting. Armed with 10 original tunes, tunes which don’t bend or pander to Nashville dictates, but, rather, follow the charmed influences of Orbison, the Byrds, Johnny Cash, all with shades of Bakersfield, the wait has been worth it.

In addition to a top flight cast of album musos, including Skip Edwards and Greg Liesz, comes Lee’s cool voice. And this guy can sing. Confident, in charge, grab the microphone and stand straight delivery one minute, to a mellow, softer, almost Chris Isaac sounding tone the next; it all shows up across an album of pleasing diversity.

The twang-lead opening, "In Vain," has Lee moping over a tortured romance, but while he may be losin’ and leavin’, he’s anything but a cowboy, salon corralled and dribbling in his beer. That’s a notable from Lee – his musical core is not of defeat in life’s stakes, but rather with his strong tenor, he paints his tunes from a vantage point of hope and confidence. Listen for "Please," the hoped for reunion on "South of San Antone," or the crafted, "Just One Moment," telling of a singer’s temptation on the road and the steadying influence of a wedding ring, they’re tagged with an optimistic acceptance. Rather than being hurtin’ songs made for wimpish defeat, Lee’s pen finds strength in place of weakness. It’s a sure bet: If he wore a hat, it’d be white.

The made-for-honky-tonkin’ "Mister Heartache" is a Swing-tinged pedal steel standout, drawing into play several elements from the album’s arsenal of fiddle, Dobro, piano, organ, strings, bass and drums. The searching "Ghosts In Paradise" and "Cowboys And Angels," a tune possibly influenced by Lee’s time at North Hollywood’s important Palomino Club, all compliment and reveal a tunesmith in definite progress.

Making it on his terms, Marc Corey Lee is not stuck in the neon dreams of hats and wide buckles; rather, he’s delivering with music that’s real and revealing. This is a first-class effort, and, yes, it’s been a few years, but the wait is over. Grab your ticket. We’re now traveling Jetset Deluxe.
- George Peden- Country Stars Online


Full-Length LPs:

HONKY TONK CRAZY- Release date: October, 1995
Label: Mountain Records, release # 63171-2
(All songs written by Marc Corey Lee, ASCAP)
Honky Tonk Crazy
Three AM Rocky Mountain Time
Back Where You belong
Red Man Rising
Maybe Someday - single
Cry, Cry, Cry
Don't Know About You
Hillbilly Beer
Still Missing You

STARDUST COWBOY- Release date: July, 2000
Label: Mountain Records, release # 63178-2
(All songs written by Marc Corey Lee, ASCAP)
Memphis Rain - single
Crazy At The Thought of You - single
When You're Gone - single
Crazy For Crying
Heart of Mine
Much Too Late
Never Tasted Love
One Last Dance
Silently Falling

JETSET DELUXE- Release date: June, 2006
Label: Mountain Records, release # 63180-2
(All songs written by Marc Corey Lee, ASCAP)
In Vain
Ghosts in Paradise
Mister Heartache - single
Just One Moment
Cowboys and Angels
South of San Antone - single
One More Time
The First Thing

--------------------------- HIGHLIGHTS ----------------------
* Country Music Association- "Country Artist of the Year"
* Los Angeles Music Awards- "Best New Artist- Country"
* California Country Music Association- "Country Band of The Year"
* Fender Music USA- Artist endorser
* American Society Of Composers Authors and Publishers- ASCAP Songwriter award, four time winner.
* Jim Beam Music - Winner Jim Beam "Emerging Artist"
* 2 Top-10 singles in 12 countries
* Jeset Deluxe, #22 on U.S. Americana Charts, 2006
* Two Grand Ole Opry appearances
* Licensed songs to Spalding, Subaru, Aaron Spelling Television and many films, live productions and shows.

Dwight Yoakam - multiple dates all over U.S.
Buck Owens- multiple dates
Merle Haggard
The Mavericks
Sara Evans
Rascal Flatts
Chely Wright
JoDee Messina
Gary Allan- multiple dates
Chris LeDoux (Rest in peace, my friend)
Junior Brown
Tanya Tucker
Tracy Byrd
Diamond Rio
Pam Tillis
John Anderson
Ty Herndon
The Blazers
Thompson Brothers
Dick Dale
Billy Ray Cyrus
Smokin' Armadillos
Yankee Gray
Patty Loveless
Eric Heatherly
Ian & Sylvia Tyson
Dale Watson
Neko Case
Chris Cagle
Grand Ol' Opry



It's a hot day in San Francisco. Backstage at the historic Fillmore Auditorium the air is thick with the smell of beer-soaked carpet mingled with a thousand people waiting to hear music. Tonight, Marc Corey Lee is opening the show for Dwight Yoakam. As Marc snakes his way down labyrinthine stairs to the stage,the crowd stirs, uncertain about the evening's opener.

Exactly 35 minutes later with the crowd still cheering, Marc heads back to his dressing room sweating a triumphant smile. The audience was in full support, applauding for more with an enthusiasm usually reserved for the headliner. It's another good night.

Growing up in Southern California, Marc found a connection to music very early. "I was just a kid when I listened to AM radio in my dad’s car," Marc says. "In those days you would hear the Stones, Buck Owens and then the Doors all mixed on one station and nobody cared.” Marc fell in love with the dark ballads of Roy Orbison, the rootsy folk music of the late 60's and the jangle of The Beatles. Coming from a Latin family he also loved the rhythms and arrangements of Salsa and Latin music. It was an unusual but inspiring mix. “From Merle to Dylan to merengue, I absorbed it all,” Marc laughs. “Those early pop sounds left a deep impression in me.”

Marc found his way to the guitar through listening to pop records he loved and wanting to emulate what he heard. He learned to play everything that was popular but immediately started working on writing his own songs. After the dues-paying, struggles and triumphs all budding performers experience, Marc persisted and recorded a set of songs that got him noticed by a publisher, Dale Tedesco. Through that connection, Marc licensed his songs to Aaron Spelling Television and- fueled by that success- formed a band and started performing his originals live. A resulting CD got Marc named “Best Country Act” by the Country Music Association and promoted his music on a larger scale.

In 2000, Marc released a second album of his own songs, "Stardust Cowboy." That increased his momentum and won Marc "Best New Artist" at the year’s Los Angeles Music Award's. The record gained critical support and credibility as an indie release and- to Marc's suprise- Nashville's own "In Review" magazine named it one of the year’s TOP 10 CD's. Marc wrote all the songs and ASCAP awarded Marc twice for his composition work on the disc.

A single from the CD, "Memphis Rain," got respectable domestic airplay but climbed to the #8 spot on charts in Europe and 12 other countries. It was boosted by supportive DJ's with live interviews from as far away as Australia. Simultaneously, American, Delta and Northwest Airlines selected "Memphis Rain" for inclusion in their in-flight channels. The exposure helped Marc sell thousands of CD's at shows and Internet outlets like Amazon and Tower.

"Stardust Cowboy" mixed musical elements of country with pop lyrics and Owen Bradley-like arrangements. The feel was part 60's pop and part traditional country, all tossed together with a retro, "secret agent" vibe that even had a Latin feel in different places.

Marc's independent success landed him a contract with the William Morris Agency; lucrative opening slots performing with well-known acts. Marc played for enthusiastic audiences across the country with acts like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Junior Brown, The Mavericks and many, many others. It was great experience and exposed listeners to Marc's unique sound. Marc's live players were the same musicians he recorded with, giving the music a cohesive and consistent feel.

Marc has licensed his music to films, television shows and companies like Subaru and Spalding. His music has appeared in a variety of motion pictures including the recent independent film, "Erosion" directed by Ann Lu and lensed by acclaimed cinematographer, Neil Fredricks. Independent label Mountain Records gives Marc control over sound, song selection, production and even artwork. "I would love the opportunity to get my music to wider distribution channels" explains Marc. "But maintaining my vision as a songwriter and musician is critical to me. To have both would be ideal."

Marc's newest CD, "Jetset Deluxe", features 10 new songs- all self-written once again- and a lineup of great musicians including, Skip Edwards (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam), Gabe Witcher (Michelle Shocked, Beck), Greg Liesz (KD Lang, Fiona Apple), Richard Bredice (Peter Gabriel, Jules Shear) and Gary Brandin (Blue Hawaiians, Spongebob).

Marc’s sound encompasses bits of production values from 60’s pop songs, intelligent lyrics and an obvious love for traditional elements of country music from the 50’s and 60’s. “I’m always asked who my favorite writers are,” relates Marc. “At the risk of sounding tragically un-hip, I would have to say I admire guys like Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Dylan, George Harrison and writers like that. These guys achieved 3-minute song perfection.”