Frankie Lee – American Dreamer

“I was born in a summer storm …” are the first words you hear
Americana singer-songwriter Frankie Lee sing on this impressive debut
full-length. And those thoughts beat at the heart of much of what drives
the remaining 41 minutes. This is summer music of the highest order;
not dependent on throwaway tunes or singalong choruses, Lee’s songs
swoop and soar with the airy qualities of a warm July breeze and his
sweet, expressive voice goes down as easy as lemonade. There are darker
concepts too that account for the “storm,” as seen in the murkier
figures that run through “Black Dog” and the loner considering a more
stable life in “Buffalo.”
Like the Jayhawks, who, like Lee, hail
from the Midwest, these tracks arrive fully formed with strumming,
spiraling, cascading guitars and organic, easy rolling melodies that
seem plucked from the air. Lush and honeyed but with an edge lurking
underneath, the rootsy feel is natural and effortless.
The approach falls between early Eagles and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon
with a strong whiff of Tom Petty. And while Lee’s talents aren’t yet
at the level of those icons of the genre, he has a similar sense of
composing hummable songs with sharp lyrics driven by a boyish voice that
balances sweet and tart. The easy Latin vibe and Brit invasion guitar
bubbling under the beautiful “Know by Now” is informed by a hint of
Brill Building songcraft that makes it sway and shimmy in all the right
The drifting electric guitars of “East Side Blues” express
all the loneliness of lyrics like “I’m missing my sweet mama/she’s out
there on her own,” without Lee having to say a word. The closing title
track adds piano and strings to bring a bigger, more dramatic scope
lyrically (Lee is looking for a better world), vocally (there is a trace
of John Lennon) and stylistically, but feels like it ends too soon. Lee
is clearly a newcomer worth watching but don’t let that distract you
from enjoying an album perfect for both lazy, hazy, summer nights and
sunshiny days.

via Blogger


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