Frankie Lee - American Dreamer
  • THE LINE OF BEST FIT – THE 50 BEST SONGS OF 2015 – WHERE DO WE BELONG
  • CLASSIC ROCK GERMANY – TOP 50 RECORDS OF 2015 – #26
  • BBC RADIO KENT SEAN ROWLEY’S TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2015 – #4
  • BBC RADIO LONDON ROBERT ELMS’ BESTS OF 2015
  • BBC RADIO ULSTER RALPH MCLEAN’S BEST ROOTS ALBUMS OF 2015
  •  BEAT SURRENDER BEST OF 2015 – #10
  • THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH TOP 40 FAVOURITE ALBUMS 2015 – #31
  • SOUNDS AND BOOKS TOP 20 SONGS 2015 – Where Do We Belong #18

“the hot tarmac romance of a roots rocking War On Drugs”
★★★★
MOJO

“beautifully burnished Americana”
“a traditional-sounding debut, but wild and radical at heart, and should take him a long way”
★★★★
THE GUARDIAN

“a rich and understated debut”
★★★★
UNCUT

“the debut album of the year”
★★★★
ROLLING STONE (France)

“A delicate blend of country songwriting and indie rock sensibilities”
ROLLING STONE COUNTRY

★★★★
Q

★★★★
CLASSIC ROCK (Germany)

“A brisk and breezy three and a half minutes that owes as much to classic country songwriting as it does to The War On Drugs’ road weary alt rock. A tender balance of cowboy grit and polished melodies, “Where Do We Belong” pitches Frankie Lee as one of the most intriguing new songwriting talents to emerge this year.”
THE LINE OF BEST FIT

“American Dreamer, doesn’t just fall back on a cascade of guitars and hard denim, shouting his feelings to buck-the-man percussion. Instead, he channels his youth growing up in the small town struggle into songs where atmosphere is just as important as aggression, if not more so — it’s a gentler call to arms, which, with his lyrical power and a keen craftsmanship that doesn’t always rest on simple Americana tropes, is often far more effective.”
THE BLUEGRSS SITUATION

 ★★★★
SONIC MAGAZINE (Sweden)

heart-achingly good melodies
★★★★★
GIGSOUP

★★★★
THE BIG ISSUE

“an album of classicist Americana imbued with grain, wisdom and a quietly questioning authority”
THE INDEPENDENT

“the start of what promises to be a very exciting and significant new arrival on the Americana scene”
FOLK RADIO

★★★★
RENOWNED FOR SOUND

“think Sturgill Simpson, Corb Lund and aforementioned [Bap] Kennedy, a musical rebel who likes to feel the wind in his hair.”
★★★★
AMERICANA UK

“A single spin of American Dreamer underscores just how much promise Lee has as a musician -consistently excellent”
★★★★
PITTSBURGH IN TUNE

an exhilarating first album
★★★★
ROCKAWA

“like Mazzy Star had discovered the Heartbreakers”
★★★★
SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO

“excellent debut”
★★★★
PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH

Frankie Lee reveals a debt to both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, especially in a vocal delivery which sits somewhere between the laconic (Bob) and the plaintive (Bruce). Musically, though, it’s the latter who provides the more obvious template, with perhaps a little of Kurt Vile’s grungy Americana thrown in.
HERALD SCOTLAND

Where Do We Belong, the debut single from Mississippi-born nomad Frankie Lee, has something special about it; what was once known as an X factor before Cowell and co. irreparably ruined the term.”
GET IN TO THIS

a fine debut from someone who promises to be a major new Americana voice
R2 MAGAZINE

“The best debut album of the year”
DUST OF DAYLIGHT, NORWAY

After Sturgill Simpson, there seems to be rising another star in the Americana sky from the house of Loose Music. Great songs that tell touching stories.”
COUNTRY.DE

“nothing, not even an association with such a respected label as Loose Music, could prepare you for the musical journey that Lee takes you on”
PENNYBLACKMUSIC

“ballsy Americana, stuffed with unexpected lyrical twists.”
BRISTOL 24/7


LIVE REVIEWS


 “this guy won’t be playing small venues for long” ”
BRISTOL 24/7

“…he delivers a set of songs that are mournful dusty ditties draped in classic American images. It’s a testament to the strength of his songs that his set seems far too short”
NE:MM

“His incredible voice hits you like a freight train, his spellbinding tracks are typical of any country star, founded in love and heartbreak… For a lone man with his guitar Frankie Lee leaves a definite lasting impression on this packed audience.”
MUSOS GUIDE

 

Born on the banks of the Mississippi river, Lee’s family later moved to Minneapolis. Following the death of his father in a motorcycle accident when he was 12, Frankie immersed himself in the city’s music scene, appearing onstage with local heroes Slim Dunlap (The Replacements) and Curtiss A at the impressionable age of 14. Inheriting records and instruments from his father’s collection, Lee was – as he sees it – “taught to play guitar by a ghost”. He continues, “I was raised on stage. These guys would bring me into the clubs, sit me behind the soundboard and give me all the coca cola I could drink until they’d call me up for a song or two at the end of the night.”

At the age of 20, Lee dropped out of college, re-invested his soccer scholarship funds in a Volvo Station wagon and embarked on a life-long love affair with America’s open roads. Lee’s first stop was Nashville, where he met Merle Haggard on the same day he drove into town. Lee then moved on to Austin, TX where he spent 6 years working for Townes Van Zandt’s son JT building cabinets outside of town in Buda, TX. The two became good friends and Lee played his first show at a night hosted by JT. “Austin was a Mecca for me. The scene at the time was bursting wide open with everything from Western swing cover bands to Roky Erikson’s psychedelic garage rock. I was out almost every night for 6 years. There was never an excuse to stay in.”

Soon after he turned 22, Lee was diagnosed with narcolepsy and was prescribed methamphetamines to counteract its effects. Over the next two years Lee struggled to find a midpoint between sleepwalking and speeding and developed a serious drug habit in the process he has since kicked. “I ran out of pills for the last time, went to bed for a week, and I haven’t really woken up since,” he laughs. Returning to his nomadic lifestyle, Lee spent a year living in a farm truck and on couches in Los Angeles. Eventually, he was taken in by friend and famed engineer Patrick McCarthy (U2, REM, Madonna). The move proved pivotal in Lee’s songwriting career as McCarthy taught him how to listen and record the music he was hearing in his head.

In 2010 Lee moved back from California to Minnesota to be closer to his family. In a series of diners and motels during the long drive home he penned the songs which were later released on his DIY ‘Middle West’ EP. Lee has spent the last 3 years working on a hog farm in rural Minnesota and developing songs for his debut album. Many of these songs reflect his change in focus from the guitar to the piano, a move necessitated by a farming accident that crushed three of the fingers on his left hand. Of his return to the landscape that is the backdrop of so many of his songs, Lee says, “I’d been gone 10 years. I decided when I got back home, to really go back home, back to the land and the people who shaped me. The people I come from are North Dakota wheat farmers. Hardworking, soft-spoken, Scandinavians who moved to the middle of nowhere with nothing, and of that place made everything they needed. There’s a movement now to get back to that way of living, and if we’re gonna last a while then I think that’s the only way we’re gonna make it.”

Frankie Lee released his debut album ‘American Dreamer’ through Loose on 2nd October. Recorded at Real Phonic Studios in Minneapolis, MN, the album is available on LP, CD and as a download. A US release is planned for Spring 2016 – more details coming soon.

Click individual images to download hi-res version

LABEL
Loose (via Thirty Tigers in North America)


MANAGEMENT
Ben Perlstein | Like Mgmt


PRESS
USA: Ken Weinstein| Big Hassle
UK: Julia Grant | Loose
GSA: Rita Rommerskirchen | Rough Trade
FRANCE: Michel Pampelune | Fargo Mafia
SCANDINAVIA: Håkan Olsson | Rootsy


RADIO / TV
USA: Lindsay Reid | Thirty Tigers
UK & rest of world: Tom Bridgewater | Loose
GSA:
 Rita Rommerskirchen | Rough Trade


BOOKING
Tom Bridgewater / Ben Perlstein


LICENSING
Paul Kinder | Cooking Vinyl/Loose Publishing