The Lee Boys play free show in Vail Tuesday
Vail CO, Colorado
The Lee Boys believe they’re doing God’s good work. Not to say they want to force a spiritual conversion on their audience or pack church pews with more people, but in a sense they see the power of music as a spiritual power, something beyond just ordinary and material. Even the style of music they play ” sacred steel ” suggests something of a more divine nature.
“When you hear The Lee Boys play, we can throw in a secular, popular tune now and you get familiar with it, but you say ‘that still sounds like it’s church (music), it’s still got that feel,'” said Alvin Lee, co-founder and lead guitarist for The Lee Boys.
Growing up in church, the band members still listened to a lot of music from non-church artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, Alvin said. Using that knowledge of secular music, The Lee Boys found a way to take sacred steel ” a style of music that started in House of God churches and uses the lap steel guitar as its focal point ” and add elements of jazz, funk, blues, rock and country to create a raucous, swaggering gospel-dance sound that Alvin calls “a heritage thing.”
Their show is described as “very high energy, very fun,” by Eagle resident Sarah Danneman. She discovered The Lee Boys accidentally at a music festival and said they were “a great surprise.”
The Lee Boys play Tuesday night in Vail as part of the Hot Summer Night’s free concert series. With songs titled “Joyful Sounds,” “Feel The Music” and “Let’s Celebrate,” The Lee Boys plan on bringing anything but a bad time to town.
The Lee Boys are family; everybody in the band is related to one another. The Lee Brothers: Alvin, Derrick and Keith, along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Cordy Jr., Earl Walker and Alvin Cordy Jr., all grew up playing music in their church in Perrine, Fla. Unlike other family-driven bands who don’t always get along ” the Black Crowes, for example ” The Lee Boys use their common bond to stay level-headed.
“Actually it’s real cool, ’cause really, this is how we been doin’ all our lives,” Alvin said. “At the end of the day, we’re all family and it works out good.”
When Alvin’s father and brother died eight years ago, he realized time is short. He decided to take the band’s show on the road.
“I got with my nephews and they were ready, and I got with my brothers and they said ‘let’s do it,’ so I formed the band,” Alvin said.
Alvin and other band members are “blown away” by their success but that doesn’t mean their egos are inflated. Their humble roots wouldn’t allow for such a thing.
“What you see on stage is what you gonna get off stage,” Alvin said.
And even though their music is church-born, Alvin said they are anything but missionaries. He does want to uplift people with his music, though. In fact, if anything, that is the band’s mission and higher calling.
“We not necessarily trying to preach religion in people’s faces, but we tryin’ to touch people,” Alvin said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: The Lee Boys.
When: Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
More information: Call 970-949-1999 or visit http://www.vvf.org.