The Lee Boys

Long an instrument associated mostly with Western swing groups, the horizontally placed pedal steel guitar has also had a long history in "sacred steel" bands — groups performing a unique form of hard-driving gospel music with tinges of soul, funk and blues. Played mostly for parishioners in the largely African-­American House of God churches, it wasn't until the 1990s that most listeners outside of the pulpit ever heard the genre. Relix-friendly artists like Robert Randolph and Ben Harper have brought the instrument to jam-band audiences, with Florida-based The Lee Boys also riding that wave. The real-life family group includes three brothers: Alvin (guitar), Derrick (vocals), Keith (vocals) and their nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel), "Little" Alvin Cordy (bass) and Earl Walker (drums). And they come by their musical pedigree honestly: Father/grandfather Rev. Robert E. Lee — yes, that's his actual name — was a pastor and steel player himself. After another brother, Glen, died in 2000, Alvin decided to take the band and its music outside church walls. But this is not music to sit or kneel by — tracks like "Let's Celebrate," "Say Yes" and "You've Got to Move" certainly got the crowd testifyin' at Bonnaroo. The Lees' last record label release was 2005's Say Yes!, but they have since self-released It Is No Secret. With a sound as big as their physiques, The Lee Boys' music is anything but kid stuff.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero