Review: Lee Boys @ Sullivan Hall

The Lee Boys’ sound is comparable to the Grammy nominated Robert Randolph in that they are both based around the sacred steel culture. The sacred steel pedal guitar, was developed in an African American church in the 1930’s and has a tremendous history and heritage going back to the Lee Boys’ homes state of Florida. The music can range from tremendously religious to a more secular approach. The Lee Boys fall somewhere in between, offering inspirational, spiritual songs, with secular rock and roll scattered in between.

The songs played at this show were about a 50/50 mix of originals and covers. Feel the Music and  Let’s Celebrate are two inspiring and soulful songs meant to shake off the world’s problems and elevate the mind, body and spirit. Though spiritual in nature, the songs are not blatantly religious and appeal to a secular audience. Let’s Celebrate got the funky crowd moving and ended with a few bars of Kool and The Gang’s Celebration. The band then played another secular song that has the feel good, soulful appeal of sacred steel music, a Lee Boys original, So Much to Live For. It’s simply impossible to be mopey with songs like this playing, a wonderful quality of the sacred steel movement.

The Lee Boys then announced they would perform the song they played on Conan, another signature inspirational, Come on, Help Me Lift Him Up and proved that this band knows how to make a small show feel like a big party.

The night was filled with classic covers featuring the Lee Boys’ own soulful, sacred steel twist. In playing a very funky version of Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious, the mood was set that being down was simply not an option. Other covers included a refrain/jam of George Clinton’s We Want the Funk and a blazing sacred steel version of Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun, with pedal steel stylist Roosevelt Collier sliding up and down the fret board with a crunchy distorted tone I have never heard before on that instrument. The show ended with an encore of the Lee Boys’ original Feel the Music, which also included a bass solo by “Little” Alvin Cordy Jr. Cordy was on fire the whole night, playing incredibly complex and rhythmic bass lines, releasing the pressure valve on the music and letting the jams fly when he would go high up on the neck.


Though Robert Randolph is the most popular musician in the sacred steel movement, he has paved the way for the genre and the Lee Boys are quickly catching up in recognition. The Conan performance and the northeast touring has and will continue to expose this feel good, southern music to a whole new crowd, thawing the icy apprehensions of us northerners with sacred steel fire.

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4 Responses

  1. 8 mentions of “sacred” or “sacred steel,” 4 uses of the word “secular,” 3 references each to “inspiring” and “spiritual” but not one single mention of Licorice’s Dave Lott sitting in with the band.

    That’s bad math right there.

  2. looks like he didnt get a chance to catch this band licorice you speak of, as a fan of the lee boys i find this interview as good as they come, missing the publicity?

  3. i knew i used the word inspirational/inspiring, three times, but it fits the sound well, so it works for me.
    and i feel like sacred steel culture is something that is underrated and more people should know about it.

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