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Phil Lee

The Fall and Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love

(Palookaville; US: 5 Feb 2013; UK: 5 Feb 2013)

Bluesy Troubadour Hits A Few, Misses A Few

Phil Lee is a Nashville-based singer and guitarist who feels that humor has its place in the blues—preferably front and center. On tunes like the jaunty “Blues In Reverse” or the vicious “Every Time”, he uses his vocals to presumed comic effect; album opener “I Hated to See You Go” opens with the lines “When you left, I said at last / And gave you twenty bucks for gas”. If you’re fond of such Dylan-esque posturing, you’re likely to enjoy the record a whole bunch. Even if you don’t, and even if Lee isn’t quite as funny as he seems to believe, well, at least the guitar playing’s pretty tasty. As is the musicianship in general: there’s plenty of energy to these songs, and Lee is capably backed by a crew that includes George Bradfute on guitar, fiddle, banjo and organ. Fans of Dylan, Townes van Zandt, or guitar blues in general might want to give a listen.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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