Guitar icon Albert Lee plays Anthology Sunday

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 11:36

English six-string master to perform with San Diego’s Eve Selis Band

By George Varga |

The first time I heard the great Albert Lee perform live was in 1971 when I was a tenth-grade student in Frankfurt, Germany. But I still vividly recall his stunning guitar playing, which should be on ample display when he performs here Sunday at downtown’s all-ages Anthology with top San Diego singer-songwriter Eve Selis and her ace band.

Forty years ago, Lee was a member of Heads, Hands & Feet, probably the finest country-rock ensemble England has ever produced. Most of the members of the audience, my friends and me included, had come to hear Procol Harum and Alice Cooper, who were co-headlining the show.

But I walked out that night awed at what a remarkable musician Lee was and how exciting his bluegrass-fueled song, “Country Boy,” sounded. (Yes, that’s the same “Country Boy” Ricky Skaggs scored a No. 1 country-music hit with in 1984, on a version played and sung in a very similar manner to Lee’s original version.)

I was even more dazzled after seeing Lee at San Diego’s Civic Theatre in 1977, when he was touring as a member of Emmylou Harris’ aptly named Hot Band. (Click here to see a live clip of “Country Boy” from that tour.) I’ve continued to marvel at his remarkably fleet playing, pinpoint articulation and ingenious musical choices ever since. So have such guitar stars as Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Keith Richards, Vince Gill and John Jorgenson, each of whom has offered gushing praise for Lee when I’ve invoked his name during interviews for the San DiegoUnion-Tribune.

Chances are good you may have albums featuring Lee, even if you don’t realize it. His credits from the 1970s alone include memorable albums with Harris, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, jazz luminaries Eddie Harris and Herbie Mann, rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Jerry Lee Lewis, The Crickets and Bo Diddley, ] and dozens more.

In the decades since, Lee’s resume grew to include lengthy partnerships with Eric Clapton and the Everly Brothers, with whom he regularly performed in San Diego during the 1980s and 1990s. His other collaborators include Brad Paisley, Dave Edmunds, Earl Scruggs, Rosanne Cash, John Prine, Dolly Parton, Steve Morse, Linda Ronstadt, former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, former San Diego rockabilly queen Rosie Flores and reclusive Valley Center resident J.J. Cale.

A longtime Southern California resident, Lee has also made 14 albums as a solo artist and as the leader of the English-based band Hogan’s Heroes. He most recently performed in San Diego in 2009 at the all-ages Anthology, where he returns to perform for a second time with Eve Selis and her band. Hearing Lee anytime is a treat; the chance to catch him trading licks with Selis’ red-hot guitarists, Jim Soldi and Marc Intravaia, makes Sunday’s show even more alluring.

Albert Lee, with the Eve Selis Band

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 3

Where: Anthology, 1337 India St., downtown

Tickets: $10-$37

Phone: (619) 595-0300

Online:Click here


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