The Lee Boys: Live on the East Coast
“When God’s been good to you, you oughta tell somebody about it!” Opening a live version of their tune “Testify,” these words encapsulate much of what The Lee Boys are all about. The track comes near the end of the Miami-based group’s new release, Live on the East Coast , which marks their first album since 2012 and features 11 tracks taken from three of The Lee Boys’ performances in 2018— Rives Theater in Martinsville, Va., Suwannee Roots Festival in Live Oak, Fla., and “Thanksgathering” in Winston-Salem N.C. The album kicks off with the Boys showcasing the funkier side of their gospel-soaked sound on “In the Morning,” followed by the rock-leaning “Walk With Me Lord” and the bluesy “Don’t Let the Devil Ride.” Even with the genre-jumping, The Lee Boys are fueled throughout the songs by the pedal-steel fire of Chris Johnson, staying true to the group’s roots in the Sacred Steel tradition, which stems from their growing up in the House of God Church community in Florida. Guitarist/vocalist Alvin Lee leads the way along with his brothers, fellow vocalists Keith and Derrick (they are the grandsons of pedal-steel player and pastor Rev. Robert E. Lee), plus a rhythm section made up of the Lees’ nephews Alvin Cordy Jr. and Earl Walker. Johnson provides the signature sacred pedal steel, of course, a place in the band previously filled by another nephew of the Lees, Roosevelt Collier. As a collective, The Lee Boys burn through these live tracks (which include covers of The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and Bobby Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light”), proving that this energizing brew of gospel, blues, R&B and rock-and-roll is meant to be played out to a live audience, filling every corner of whatever sort of church they happen to be in—whether it’s a Florida chapel or a festival stage.