Tim Lee Band
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Tim Lee Band


Band Americana Rock


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The best kept secret in music



Tim Lee
Under the House
Paisley Pop, 2003

In some circles, the coming of a new Tim Lee/Bobby Sutliff/Windbreakers release is call for a mighty celebration. With the release of Lee's Under the House, I've pulled out the party hats and cake -- the noisemakers have been banished to the back yard so that all revelers can listen and enjoy.

This is a great little CD. Not as polished as his work with the Windbreakers, Under the House has more of a rural feel than the WBs southern roots ever made apparent. Born in Mississippi and based now in Tennessee, Lee connects intimately with the music of the rural south --the electrified blues and the twang of country -- filtered through the aggressive honesty of punk. Indeed, it appears that his near-decade hiatus from recording has encouraged him to reconnect with his regional roots. The result is an honest and organic roots pop album that has none of the sheen of current contemporary country artists -- and certainly little of the self-consciousness of standard pop rock.

There is an appealing rawness to the music. It has a first-take sense of spontaneity, and the phrasing of the lyrics rings with deep emotional honesty and intelligence. With a decade in the non-musical wilderness (which included a stint as an elementary teacher as well as time spent writing about dirt-track racing), Lee has abundant issues to sing about. The songs are about truth and the road, about growing old and the pain of loss. This is pop music from the perspective of an adult -- serious issues, but with an engaging musical environment.

Beyond the sobriety of the lyrics, Lee clearly loves his guitar, and he lets the instrument speak eloquently. An engaging blend of electric and acoustic guitars flavor the mix, with a deep, low bass line anchoring the songs at the bottom. The country feel to the CD is emphasized with the occasional and tasteful use of slide guitar lines, but the primary musical experience is grounded firmly in Lee's hybrid blues-country-powerpop. Those powerpoppish elements are enhanced by challenging and engaging guitar riffs, a mixture of George Harrison's simplicity and Keith Richards organic rootsiness. The new-south elements of 1980s Let's Active/REM/Windbreakers are all present, begging the question once again, of "why wasn't he a megastar in 1985?"

Regardless of star status of the artist, it is clear that there is much good stuff here. If you like your pop rock with an organic rootsy side, or find the North Mississippi All-Stars to be good, but the drumming too dense, you'll find much to enjoy here.

Ken King - Ken King


Tim Lee - Under The House

2003 solo outing from Ex-Windbreaker great, who along with Bobby Sutliff created some of the most dynamic guitar interplay in the 80's indie music landscape. Some of the great guitar work those two players created is here in spades(and aces) and bolsters this up front. Lee's work is a beatifically gorgeous rootsy trail of dusty backrooms, warm summer nights on the porch and distinctively Southern jangle. Lee's deep and poetic twangy drawl blends many Neil Young-isms and his folksy-pop template is one that many Americana-ish bands would be well to pay attention to and mimic. This is a work of honest reflection and intensely personal while casting a net that fans of roots rock with gorgeous twang 'n jangles and masterful guitar work inside every note. Stunning. - Bruce Brodeen


Tim Lee:
Under the House (2003) - Paisley Pop Label
All That Stuff (1994) - Fundamental Records
Crawdad (1991) - DB Recs
The New Thrill Parade (1991) - New Rose (France)
What Time Will Tell (1988) - Coyote Records

The Windbreakers:
Time Machine 1992-2002 (2003) - Paisley Pop Label
Electric Landlady (1991) - DB Recs
At Home with Bobby and Tim (1990) - DB Recs
A Different Sort ... (1987) - DB Recs
Run (1986) - DB Recs
Terminal (1985) - Homestead Records
Any Monkey With a Typewriter (1983) - Big Monkey


Feeling a bit camera shy


As an active part of the independent music scene of the 1980s, Tim Lee released several albums of roots-oriented pop rock, steeped in the Byrds, Beatles, Stones and Crazy Horse. As half of the southern pop duo the Windbreakers, Lee released a half-dozen critically-acclaimed recordings before moving onto a solo career. His latest solo release, "Under the House" came out early in 2003 on the Paisley Pop Label in Portland, Oregon.
Additionally, Lee has logged many miles on the road, both as a band leader and a sideman (Let's Active, Marti Jones, Swimming Pool Qs, Leslie Woods, Todd Steed) and has worked with numerous artists in the studio (Will and the Bushmen, Absolute Grey, the Primitons, the Reivers, Matt Piucci, Howard Wuelfing, Beat Temptation, etc.).
As a solo performer, Lee combines the elements of the traditional singer-songwriter with guitar work reminiscent of great guitar bands such as Crazy Horse, Television and Big Star.
Over the past two decades, his work has been praised in the pages of Rolling Stone, Creem, the New York Times, the L.A. Reader, No Depression, Amplifier, the Big Takeover and numerous other publications.