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Interview:
New band lets Albert Lee ramp up his U.S. presence
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

Albert Lee turns 70 this year, but the British-born musician isn't running out of new things to do.

This year's development, in fact, is the formation of his first U.S.-based band (he resides in California), which is giving him more opportunity to tour in North America after primarily playing in Europe, both on his own and with former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.

"I've done many tours of the States, but not with my own band so this is new," notes Lee, whose credits include being the Everly Brothers' musical director for 20 years, playing in bands for Eric Clapton and Emmylou Harris and also working with the Crickets, Dave Edmunds, Brad Paisley, Spinal Tap and many others.

"This is something I've been meaning to do for many years, put a U.S. band together. The response has been great but it means we're just starting off here, so we're doing things on a shoestring. It's a lot of lugging gear around, which I'm getting a bit old for. But it's what we do."

The guitarist, pianist and singer -- who's also working on a new solo album with his European band -- says that the idea for the new band was to allow him to spend more time close to home. The theory is nice, but it hasn't quite panned out in practice yet.

"I'm over in Europe, like, seven or eight months of the year, and I haven't really been able to cut back on that, so I'm lucky if I get a week at home here and there," he says. "Playing is great, but it's hard on the home life. I've got a house that's falling apart and cars that need attention, and I need to be home with my family.

"Maybe that'll happen one day, but right now it's just feeling...busier than ever."

Albert Lee performs Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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