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Music Review - `The Horse He Rode In On` by Phil Lee (lz)

Phil Lee -- And the Horse He Rode In On   (click on image to watch video)

 02 July 2019



 That makes Phil Lee & The Horse He Rode In On an auspicious return of sorts, considering the fact that it’s only the fifth album this native North Carolinian has released over the course of his career. Nevertheless, that doesn’t diminish its distinction, as evidenced by the fact that his array of special guests include drummer Ralph Molina and bass player Billy Talbot of Crazy Horse, legendary keyboard player Barry Goldberg, guitarists Bill Kirchen, Gurf Morlix, Pete Anderson and Richard Bennett, and none other than Bill Lloyd helping out on harmonies. Naturally, one might expect that with a cast and crew of that magnitude, the resulting work might represent some grand opus, but happily, to his credit, Lee maintains a tattered tenacity while reaffirming his ragged facade. There’s nothing slick or polished about any of these twelve tunes, and if the arrangements sometimes seem more like they’re piecemeal or patchwork, they serve the purpose well. Lee’s the real deal, and his gruff, gritty persona serves the music well.

It follows then that the new album maintains an unerring sense of resilience and resolve. Opening track “The Mighty King of Love” reprises the title song from Lee’s debut, but the weary delivery that underscores it and the otherwise emphatic “All Right Here” suggests his day of reckoning has unexpectedly come too soon. He finds confidence and assurance on the swaggering rockers “Wake Up Crying and “Hey Buddy,” but by all indications, he’s not playing his whole hand. “I Don’t Forget Like I Used To” is a jaunty slice of pure honky tonk, and imbues itself within the album’s central core. It’s a revealing read, and the purest indication of where Lee comes from, and where he’s residing now. So too, his duet with Molly Pasutti on “Party Drawers,” a pairing that brings to mind George and Tammy and Porter and Dolly, also affirms his absolute authenticity.

Ultimately, Phil Lee & The Horse He Rode In On offers an example of astute Americana, but without the need to assert legitimacy or largess. He is what he is, and the horse he rides in on effectively gets him where he needs to go.


 Lee Zimmerman


Lee Zimmerman

To Read All of Lee's Reviews, Click Here






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