Legendary guitarist Albert Lee’s brand new solo album Highwayman is an intimate and heart-wrenching collection of classic acoustic covers, featuring tunes by the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Jimmy Webb.
Platinum-selling rock 'n' roll singer-songwriter Shakin' Stevens will be joined by folk legend Ralph McTell at Albert's concerts, along with Brian Bennett and Bruce Welch from The Shadows, plus Marty Wilde, Jane Clark and more.
Albert Lee, one of the most respected guitarists in the country-rock music scene, is celebrating his 70th birthday with an album, documentary and anniversary concerts - marking over 53 years in the music business!
Albert made his name touring with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris' Hot Band through the seventies and eighties, but has maintained a highly devoted fanbase.
Respected as much for his unparalleled picking-style as well as his upbeat attitude, Albert was joined by a huge range of special guests at his anniversary concerts, which took place at Cadogan Hall in London on 1st and 2nd March 2014. A documentary and solo album will follow soon after, focusing on possibly one of the greatest unsung (and most beloved) heroes of country-rock.
Legendary guitarist Albert Lee’s brand new solo album Highwayman is an intimate and heart-wrenching collection of classic acoustic covers.
Most know him as the “ultimate virtuoso” (in Eric Clapton’s own words) on an electric guitar…but for Albert Lee’s latest offering, this world-renowned and much-loved country legend swaps his signature Ernie Ball Music Man and “Country Boy” fast-picking for a close, personal and straight-from-the-heart performance on just piano, acoustic guitar and vocals.
This raw and emotional record pays tribute to many of Albert’s musical influences - the classic rock ’n’ roll of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love”, the deep feeling and passion of Rodney Crowell’s ballad “Till I Can Gain Control Again”, and the centrepiece of the album in Jimmy Webb’s “The Highwayman” - a powerful and dramatic, and most probably definitive, version of a true musical masterpiece.
“Highwayman” features 12 honest and unapologetic renditions of some of Albert’s all-time favourite tracks - recorded live and captured in a moment of true inspiration - and truly represents, to quote the man himself, “the album I’d always wanted to record”.
This is Albert Lee as close and personal as you are ever likely to hear.
Albert's anniversary concerts at Cadogan Hall were proudly brought to you in association with Strings & Things, the UK distributor of Albert's Ernie Ball Music Man guitar.
Albert performing with The Low Riders.
It truly was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime event, and a stunning tribute to one of rock 'n' roll's best-loved personalities, Albert Lee. Artists poured out in their droves to celebrate by playing on stage - appearances from Dave Edmunds, Chris Farlowe, Chas and Dave, Shakin' Stevens, Bill Wyman and many more marked the concerts as two very special shows. The atmosphere was incredible, relaxed and most importantly, fun.
Albert was backed by Andy Fairweather Low and his band The Low Riders for half of the evening, whilst the remaining set was taken by his U.S. band who flew over especially for this monumental occasion. Birthday messages from Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton and James Burton flashed up on the screen between covers of Lonnie Donegan, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. The evenings ended with all the stars gathered on stage, Albert presented with a birthday cake. A truly unforgettable experience for all involved.
Coming soon to DVD and CD...
Stay tuned for a release date for the combined DVD/CD 70th Birthday Celebration package.
A whole host of musicians, past and present, friends and musical colleagues of Albert, joined him on stage at the Cadogan Hall anniversary concerts to celebrate his amazing career. Here are just a few of the world-renowned artists that made an appearance...
One half of English musical duo Chas & Dave, Hodges is a bassist, piano player and vocalist, who met Albert back in the days of The Thunderbirds and was founding member of Heads, Hands and Feet.
Dave, along with musical partner Chas, make up the rock 'n' roll duo Chas & Dave, known for hit singles "Rabbit" and "Ain't No Pleasing You". They have a new album out, entitled "That's What Happens"
It was during the seventies with Rockpile that producer and guitarist Dave invited Albert to guest on his version of Hank DeVito's "Sweet Little Lisa", which has since become a fan-favourite on Albert's live sets.
Best known for his involvement in the Rolling Stones from 1962-1993, bassist Bill Wyman has since gone on to form his own successful franchise, "The Rhythm Kings", featuring the likes of Georgie Fame.
A platinum-selling Welsh rock and roll singer and songwriter who holds the distinction of being the UK's biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s, Shaky has charted 33 Top 40 hit singles in the UK alone.
Best known for his #1 hit single "Out of Time", blues and soul singer Chris Farlowe has been a major player in British rock 'n' roll, and hired Albert as lead guitarist for his band The Thunderbirds back in 1964.
English singer-songwriter Ralph McTell has been an influential figure on the UK folk music scene since the sixties. Albert toured with the Everly Brothers in the eighties, for which Ralph played as support.
British pianist, composer, arranger and record producer of popular music, Brian is perhaps best known as the drummer of the UK rock and roll group, The Shadows, with Hank Marvin, Cliff Richard and Bruce Welch.
English guitarist and songwriter Bruce Welch, along with school friend Hank Marvin, met Cliff Richard at the 2i's Coffee Bar in London where Albert played in the sixties. They would go on to form The Shadows.
Jane’s reputation as an outstanding fiddler, both on stage and in the studio, has grown on both sides of the Atlantic, playing a range of styles from traditional Irish through rock & pop to blues, country and beyond.
One of the first truly great British rock guitarists, Joe Brown is a highly regarded figure in the world of rock 'n' roll, performing ukulele and singing “I'll See You In My Dreams” for the finale of the Concert for George.
Gary US Bonds
American rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Gary U.S. Bonds began his career during the formative years of Rock and Roll and his influence continues to this day.
Huey played with Albert on Dave Edmunds' Rockpile sessions in the seventies.
Reuniting powerhouses of recent music history, this upcoming film documents Albert's illustrious career in music, and gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into his touring and performing, being described, now in his 70th year, as "the best he's ever been"...
But this isn't a look back - with his own solo album in the works as part of the project, Albert is working and playing now more than he's ever done...and the same is the case with many of his own generation of great players. Throughout his extensive career as a country and rock artist, starting in the sixties, Albert has collaborated with some highly respected names in the music scene...
To commemorate Albert's 70th birthday, these world-renowned artists and celebrities talk to us about the times they've shared with Albert, in and out of the studio and on and off the stage. Look out for many more to come as we approach the documentary DVD and Blu-ray release in 2015.
Edmunds has been major figure in the world of rock 'n' roll since his 1968 hit Sabre Dance...
It was during the seventies with his band Rockpile that Dave invited Albert to guest on his version of Hank DeVito's "Sweet Little Lisa", which has since become a fan-favourite on Albert's live sets. Here Dave talks about giving the track to Albert on the strength of his amazing solo...
Jools Holland is perhaps one of Blackheath's most well known musicians...
...along with guitarist Albert Lee, as they both grew up in the same area of London (some 15 years apart). Founder of the band Squeeze, a world-renowned piano player, singer and television personality, Jools has played with Albert several times, including the 'Concert for George' and Greenwich Summer Sessions (2010).
Chas has been playing music (bass guitar) with Albert for many years...
...in the early 70's with the acclaimed Heads, Hands and Feet, then later inviting Albert to perform with the band on several Chas and Dave TV shows (usually playing Country Boy!). He is an accomplished songwriter and would like to record a couple of his songs with Albert.
Marty was one of the first generation of British pop stars emulating American rock 'n' roll.
He is still playing, singing and songwriting, and has been a close friend of Albert's for many years since their first meeting when Albert was just 15 - and he wants to write a new hit song for Albert...
"A brilliant guitar player. His sound is unmistakable—often emulated, never equalled."
An award-winning British guitarist...
Known for his signature Ernie Ball guitar and lightning speed picking,
Albert has not only worked with some of the biggest names in music but he has also maintained a solo career of his own.
Influences, The Thunderbirds & The Crickets
Albert was born on December 21, 1943 in Herefordshire, England, before moving and growing up in Blackheath, London. He was first introduced to music with the piano, taking lessons aged seven, learning the classics and pop tunes before the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis inspired him to take up guitar.
Albert was treated one Christmas to a Hofner President acoustic arch-top, and from there he never looked back. Spurred on by the recordings of Jimmy Bryant, Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Gene Vincent and The Everly Brothers, Albert left school at sixteen and turned pro, getting regular gigs at the 2 i's Coffee Bar and The Flamingo Club in London - first with Bob Xavier’s band, and then with The Jury. He replaced Jimmy Page in The Crusaders before joining Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds in ‘64.
Albert and The Crickets in 1973 (photograph by John Livzey, courtesy Jerry Allison).
He soon found his favoured guitar of choice, the Fender Telecaster, whilst everyone else was playing Gibson Les Pauls and Stratocasters. Albert admitted to feeling like the odd man out as his appreciation for American country artists grew, and he formed the band Country Fever. He began working with Poet & The One Man Band, who later turned into Heads, Hands & Feet when Jerry Donahue and Pat Donaldson (of Country Fever) were replaced by Albert and Chas Hodges. Their self-titled debut album featured the original “Country Boy”, now synonymous with Albert’s trademark picking style.
The U.S eventually beckoned, and Albert began doing session work and briefly toured with The Crickets in 1973. He moved to Los Angeles, where he met his idols Phil and Don Everly, and Don invited Albert to play with him and pedal steel legend Buddy Emmons. After working on Don’s second album, Albert left to join Joe Cocker’s band and was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham.
The Hot Band, Eric Clapton and Grammy success
Albert with the Hot Band, 1976 (courtesy the Lee family).
Albert’s reputation was growing as he moved to Encino, and met his wife Karen whilst rehearsing up in Santa Barbara with Joe Cocker and his band before they went on the road. He contributed to Cocker’s “Sting Ray”, and was then approached by A&M about putting together a solo album.
At a pivotal point in his career, Albert was asked by Emmylou Harris to replace James Burton - one of his guitar heroes - who was leaving for Elvis Presley’s band. In 1976 he joined the Hot Band, and his incredible guitar work came to the fore on the “Luxury Liner” LP. Albert released his first solo album “Hiding”, produced by Brian Ahern, which featured perhaps the definite version of “Country Boy” with Emmylou on backing vocals and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle.
When he returned to London in 1978 for session recording, Albert met Eric Clapton. He was invited to join his band and played on Clapton’s live album “Just One Night”, which featured Albert on lead vocals for a cover of Mark Knopfler’s “Setting Me Up”. Albert would work with Eric for five years before he left and released his second solo album, the self-titled “Albert Lee” in 1982.
Albert fulfilled his boyhood dream to play with the Everly Brothers in 1983 when he acted as guitarist and musical director for their reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Since then he would regularly tour with the Everlys on and off for 20 years. After two instrumental albums - “Speechless” (1986) and “Gagged But Not Bound” (1987) - steel player Gerry Hogan invited Albert to headline at a festival in Newbury, England - fronting his own band for the very first time, Hogan’s Heroes.
Eric and Albert in Yugoslavia, late 1979 (courtesy the Lee family).
As Albert toured with Hogan’s Heroes through the late 80s, he began his long association with Ernie Ball Music Man, who would eventually (through many iterations) produce his signature guitar that he tours and records with today. In 2002 he would join Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney and other music legends on stage at the Concert for George at the Royal Albert Hall.
Albert also recieved a Grammy Award in 2002 for his contribution to “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” featured on “Earl Scruggs and Friends”. He appeared for the first time at Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, now an annual appearance, and has toured periodically for the last few years with ex-Stones bassist Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, performing with Georgie Fame. Joining his hero James Burton, along with the likes of Vince Gill and John Jorgenson, Albert won a Grammy for his performance on Brad Paisley’s instrumental “Cluster Pluck” in 2009.
Albert's next big project is the 70th Birthday Celebration, a solo album, documentary and concert project celebrating his illustrious career in music. Click here to find out more.
"One of the finest guitar players
who ever walked this earth..."
Legendary guitar player Albert Lee has gathered together a stellar line-up of experienced and talented musicians for his US tour dates.
For US band enquiries, please contact Jim Cowan. Email him here, call him on (001) 805 231 9839 or fax on (001) 805 531 9233.
John 'J.T.' Thomas
On his 23rd year with Bruce Hornsby. Other collaborations include: Captain Beefheart, Don Henley, Sparks, Tracy Chapman and Emmylou Harris.
Former keyboard technician for Don Henley, Bruce Hornsby has referred to J.T. as “the greatest keyboard player in the band". His extensive list of recording credits and musical collaborations are great testaments to this.
Will’s pure talent and versatility have earned him a spot in many different and very interesting projects.
Including and not limited to; Pretenders (Pirate Radio and Packed), Pat Boone (Ready to Rock), Corey Stevens (Bring on the Blues and Road To Zen), Excene Cervenka (Old Wive’s Tales) and Timothy Leary (Right to Fly).
Jason Harrison Smith
You name the style and he’ll play it. From the symphony to rock ‘n’ roll, Jason does it all.
He has worked with: Albert Lee and John Jorgenson, Julia Fordham, Paul Reiser, Five For Fighting, Paul Keneally.
The Official Albert Lee website, 70th Birthday Celebration and 'The Club' are run and managed by Palm Bridge Productions Ltd. For more information, please visit the website. If this website is displaying incorrectly, please update your browser to the latest version - Safari, Firefox and Chrome are recommended browsers.