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Summer Lee


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Country pop with a message

Status:

Most recent release, Harness the Wind (2003)

See also:

CD Baby's Summer Lee's page

Comparisons:

At times her voice, though not the substance of the music, seemed to resemble Emmylou Harris. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

See album comments below. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Recommended first album:

Peace begins with me is all we've heard

Recordings:


Peace begins with me

Release info:

2002—Little Freedom Music—SL7173

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Those heavily into country music will find something to like here (though, as we shall see, probably not the whole album); others may enjoy a few tracks, but no more than that. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Group members:

Summer Lee—vocals

Guest artists:

Jody, Dian, Laura Kaye, Harvey, Erin, Kimberly, Vic, Mary, Carl, Jeromy, Race, Wes, Michael, Wain—backing vocals

Produced by:

Summer Lee, with Daryl Hok, Tom Carter, Bob Rigley, Stacey Christenson, Vic Sorsiso

Comments:

The tracks on this album fall into two categories: A majority with some kind of message, and a minority without. I found the latter group much more successful. Judging from some of the liner notes, the album seems to have been prepared in the aftermath of 9/11, and the mix of material reflects this. The message songs tend toward the kind of people-should-be-nice-to-each-other sensibility that Jewel was roasted for, in some circles, in the few years before she discovered sex appeal as a gimmick. The title track takes a particularly didactic approach. There are successful country songs that engage in some kind of commentary; examples that occur to me include Martina McBride's "Independence Day," Kathy Mattea's "Walking Away A Winner," and in a somewhat lighter vein, the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl." Lee's sincerity in these matters is to be appreciated, but there are other kinds of songs that she's better at.
     The smaller number of message-free songs on the album are her forté. She is not an innovator; the lyrics are not especially cerebral or clever. But all the songs in this group are at least quite solid, and a couple are actually pretty good. The lyrics to the "Magenta Rose" track contain some good advice for independent artists everywhere: "Listen, child/You have a spirit so wild/Don't let that spirit die/Playing the game."
     I will leave it to specialists in country music to gauge Lee's headliner potential. But I think she has a good shot at a successful career at at least the journeyman level, provided she is mindful of her strengths and weaknesses, and works hard at steering toward her strengths. (mapravat@prairienet.org)


Thanks to Mitch Pravatiner for work on this entry.

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