SHARES NEW SINGLE & VIDEO FOR “IN THE BLUE”
STILLWATER OUT ON LOOSE, MAY 24TH
“Lush and honeyed but with an edge lurking underneath…natural and effortless…[Frankie Lee] falls between early Eagles and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon with a strong whiff of Tom Petty” – American Songwriter
“beneath the familiar glow of his beautifully burnished Americana lurks a restless, angry soul.” – The Guardian
“the hot tarmac romance of a roots rocking War On Drugs” – Mojo
“With an introductory guitar riff that nods to Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” and an achingly beautiful chorus, “Downtown Lights” pines for the town’s purer days, before capitalism, condos and the proliferation of tourist shops choked Stillwater of its rough-edged charm.” – Rolling Stone Country
Frankie Lee is sharing the second single from his new album, Stillwater, today with the beautifully dark rumination on aging and loss. In The Blue sees Lee taking a soft piano approach to the subject, somehow softening the stark reality that time comes for us all. Lee explains that the song “dramatises the confusion felt by the narrator as he watches the important things in life slip away. Realising he cannot hold on to even one grain of sand, he is led to his final question whether all things are just a dream.” American Songwriter, who premiered the song, says “In The Blue finds the sweet spot between modern, soulful folk and old-school Western balladry, with Lee’s gentle vocal lending an emotional heft to the track’s understated, piano-forward arrangement.”
The video for In The Blue follows on from that of that of previous single Downtown Lights in using archival footage of Frankie Lee’s hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota from which the album takes its name. The footage was taken from the Washington County Historical Society’s John Runk collection by videographer Paul Creager.
Following up his critically acclaimed 2016 debut, American Dreamer, which Rolling Stone called “debut record of the year”, Lee continues to hold a mirror up to the idea of the American Dream, with new album Stillwater, lamenting the decimation of the working class and the effects of unfettered capitalism on communities across the country. Stillwater is out on the 24th May. Pre-order it here.
Frankie Lee Tour Dates
18 May – WOOD FESTIVAL, Oxfordshire (UK)
20 May – HENGELO Metropool (NL)*
21 May – COLOGNE Blue Shell (DE)*
23 May – COPENHAGEN Loppen (DK)*
24 May – BERLIN Privat Club (DE)*
25 May – UTRECHT TivVre Pandora (NL)*
26 May – ANTWERP Trix (BE)*
27 May – LONDON Omeara (UK)*
29 May – LEEDS Brudenell (UK)*
30 May – MANCHESTER Night & Day (UK)*
31 May – DUBLIN Whelan’s (IE)*
*with Strand Of Oaks
Stillwater is a small town between two hills in the middle of America. Frankie Lee was born there and has been running from it and to it ever since. Stillwater is also a record about life in middle America. A “record” meaning simply that, converting sound into permanent form. This is the story of how that record came to be.
For the recording of the follow up to American Dreamer – “debut album of the year” Rolling Stone – Frankie Lee had visited a few studios and they all felt like the same big production factories. He had spent the best part of a year wrangling livestock and had a pile of cash on the table to pay for the biggest and best gadgets which he then found he ultimately had absolutely no interest in. Lee wanted to get away from people who thought music should be made in isolation booths or that bigger was better. All the people who wanted the next big thing. Lee wanted to be the last little thing, he just had to find the right space to do it in.
One day Frankie Lee was walking down main street in his hometown and it hit him that he could bring the studio to them. Luckily, the house he grew up in was available. His mother had lived in the same house in Stillwater for most of Lee’s life. It’s a small cedar-sided house on an acre lot on the northern end of town, tucked back in the woods on a small hill, it looks like a log cabin.
So they packed their instruments, tuned the old upright piano and rolled out a tape machine next to the wood-burning stove. Music was made from morning ‘til night. For three days straight, they ate together, stayed together and played together. Cutting six songs the first day and five the next, most of what they captured was first or second take. The music is minimal and warm. Lee describes his sound as “Western Music”, steel guitars and synths blend with acoustic guitars and omni chords. The musical brush is gold and green, dipped in deep blue. He slips in and out of time throughout the record. One line in a song could be its first or last. The song-stories are a blend of his own romantic grit. Ex-lovers, lost land and hope flung out of a car window, fraying in the wind.
On American Dreamer, Lee’s characters were set loose in a seemingly inescapable inheritance of self-destruction. On Stillwater, they seek a path towards redemption by returning home and confronting the past. Based on the loss of youth, with a focus on the dissolution of love, as well as the real life of the working class, Stillwater is a scrapbook of short stories, reveries and musical growth by one of America’s greatest unknown songwriters.
In the 20 years since its inception, London-based record label Loose has grown to become Europe’s premier Americana label, releasing the first albums by Sturgill Simpson, The Felice Brothers, Neko Case, M.Ward, Hurray For The Riff Raff & Dawes. Their current roster includes Damien Jurado, Courtney Marie Andrews, Israel Nash & The Handsome Family.
2. Only She Knows
3. Downtown Lights
4. In The Blue
5. (I Don’t Wanna Know) John
7. One Wild Bird
8. Broken Arrow
Stillwater is out 24th May 2019 via Loose
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