Albert Lee is celebrating his 70th birthday today. That’s certainly a great reason to celebrate and wish him well on a major milestone in life. It’s not often that a musician develops and defines a unique style of playing the guitar but Albert certainly has. A product of the “British Invasion” of the 1960’s, Albert went a decidedly different direction. His passion was American country picking rather than power chords and ripping pentatonic solos. One listen and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Albert is the “Country Boy” in the song by the same name.
And Albert is one of the nicest and most humble celebrities that I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. I’m sure that he would be a household name…a major celebrity…if his personality wasn’t so laid back and accommodating. It’s not as if he hasn’t been on stage with some of the biggest names in the music business. He was a member of Eric Clapton’s band for five years, was the third Everly Brother for over a decade, the replacement for legendary guitarist James Burton in Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band, a member of Joe Cocker’s Band and one of the many guitarists on stage at the “Concert for George”.
I first met him when kindly agreed to be a guest musician on the AIX Records production of “Acoustic Blues” by my close friend Dorian Michael. Dorian and I attended CSU Northridge in the late 70s and 80s studying music composition with Aurelio de la Vega and Daniel Kessner. Many years later I offered to do a project with him but suggested that we needed some “star power” to help sell the recording. He had studied and played with Albert, so I called him up. Albert was very gracious and agreed to play on a few tunes. [NOTE: This project was also the reason that I got to know Laurence Juber, the ex-Wings guitarist and a musician that has contributed to many AIX Recordings].
Albert also contributed to “Tried and True” with Hanna/McEuen, which led to the award-winning “Tearing It Up” Blu-ray project that we did about 5 years ago. This was the recording that was recognized as “Recording of the Month” by Stereophile Magazine in November of 2012…the first multichannel project to ever receive that recognition! Albert plays some fantastic solos, sings from the heart and even plays a tune or two on piano, which was his first instrument.
To celebrate Albert’s 70th, he’s playing a birthday concert in London (sold out) and another one on January 9th in Los Angeles. I can’t say who’s going to show up at these shows to support one of the truly great players of the last 50 years, but you can probably guess. I really wish I could be there.
In fact, Karen Lee secured a couple of premium tickets for the show at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on the 9th…but I’m going to be stuck in Las Vegas on that evening tending to the HRA Showcase at the CES. Argh. I didn’t know it when I purchased the tickets. If anyone would like to buy the two tickets that I have, please contact me. It will be a great show.
PS There’s actually another birthday that warrants mentioning today. My oldest son Christopher turns 27 today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTOPHER! He’s a talented musician/artist living and working in the LA area. You might want to search Google for his band “The Great Wall”…there’s a number of videos and tunes that you can check out Watch Magnetar. Of course, my opinion is a little skewed but I think he’s extremely gifted. I’m not so sure I can get behind the math-metal style that he prefers…but I think he’s doing something unique and worthwhile. I’d love to hear from anyone that gets a look or listen.
Got to run and get my right rear window replaced. My car got burglarized early this morning as I was doing my 10-mile run this morning. Cancel credit cards, police report, insurance…ugh. Happy Holidays.