*The Lee Boys’ new album, Testify, is an electrifying production that transforms traditional sacred steel songs into high-energy arrangements.
Combining this with their new original material, The Lee Boys seek to share their experiences as a family, along with their testimony of God’s power in their lives.
The Lee Boys are one of America’s finest sacred steel ensembles. Brothers Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) led the family band, along with their nephews Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums).
Born and raised in Miami, each of the Lee Boys grew up within the House of God church, where their father and grandfather, Elder Robert E. Lee, was pastor and steel player himself. Here they each began their musical instruction, through a rigorous course of training in a variety of instruments.
In Testify, songwriters Alvin, Keith, and “Li’l” Alvin Jr. repeatedly touch on the comfort that faith has given them in times of family illnesses and death. The new songs also celebrate their joy in spreading the Word as they travel the world.
“It has been my dream for years to reach a larger audience with our message and I feel like Testify will be the best way to do it,” says Alvin.
Stellar production, expanded instrumentation, and notable guests contribute to the captivating mix of Gospel and traditional R&B on Testify. Guest players include Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule, Allman Brothers Band) on vocals and lead guitar; Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic) on lead guitar; Gia Wyre on vocals; Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer) on organ, piano, and keyboards; Nate Worth on percussion; and producer/engineer/mixer Matt Grondin on electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals. Horns were arranged by Mark Mullins.
Testify was primarily recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA, with additional recording at The Music Shed, City of Progress, Carriage House Studios, Tree Sound Studios, Rastrophonics Studios, and The Parlor Recording Studio. Extensive touring is being planned for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.
The “sacred steel” genre is described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a blues-based beat. While rooted in Gospel, the genre is infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, funk, hip-hop and international. The electric lap steel guitar was first introduced to the House of God church during the Hawaiian steel guitar fad of the 1930’s. The Pentecostal congregation embraced the soulful sound, and over time this unique sound became the hallmark of the church. The pedal steel guitar was added to the tradition, and this soon became the central instrument of the genre.
This music form was unknown to the world outside the church until the mid 1990’s, when folklorist Robert Stone attended House of God services and recorded the music, as well as its history, contributing the name “sacred steel.” A series of compilations featuring artists such as Aubrey Ghent, Calvin Cooke and the Campbell Brothers, as well as the late Glenn Lee followed on legendary roots label Arhoolie Records, for whom The Lee Boys also recorded. The Lee Boys reflect this tradition as part of the fourth generation of musicians in this faith.
Watch as the Lee Boys perform “Testify,” the title cut from their new CD:
To add the Lee Boys to your musical collection, for tour dates or other information go to www.leeboys.com.