Lolly Lee “Lolly Lee”

Admiral Bean Records, 2024

Self-titled solo release from Alabama native has echoes of fellow Alabama native Lucinda Williams, with fine storytelling lyrics at its heart.

artwork for Lolly Lee album "Lolly Lee"Lolly Lee is a new name to the UK Americana scene, with this her self-titled first solo release, but she boasts a background as a long-established member of the music scene in Birmingham, Alabama, in bands including The Mortals and Split the Dark. After a break from music to embrace the joys of motherhood”, her album follows the sad loss of her husband of many years, and her self-penned songs reflect the realities–both positive and negative–of her life as a mother, partner and musician.

The album was produced by Anthony Crawford, longtime bandmate of Neil Young, who adds backing vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, lap steel, violin, organ, bass, drums, and percussion to Lee’s vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and mandolin, with Savana Lee on backing vocals.

The bio for her former band The Mortals name checks Lucinda Williams as an influence, along with Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks, and Williams’ influence is evident in Lee’s lyrics, and song arrangements, notably on ‘Free State of Winston’, where she sings Rusty relics in the yard arranged like modern art/ Betty bakes with beans and lard traditional avante-garde/Loving and living/ sinning and repenting/ in the free state of Winston”, and ‘Fortuna’s Ink’ where Lee’s voice echoes William’s characteristic rasp.

Sharing her Alabama roots with Williams, her home state features as the setting in ‘Sweet Alabama Home’, with Lee in nostalgic mode on her front porch, “we don’t have much but it’s all ours”, listening to “an orchestra of cicadas”, “just one note in a southern symphony”.

Album opener ‘Satellite’ features a more West Coast vibe, with a driving beat, and a positive message “you’re not alone anymore/ step into the light/ welcome to your life/take a look around/ you’re the moon, you’re the sun, rising/never give up”. 

Lee shows her rockier side on ‘Ave Maria Grotto’, an up-tempo rocker with distorted guitar, singing “a long way from home”, and on ‘Happy Now’, with its repeated refrain “Are you happy now”.

‘Whisper’ in contrast has a rootsy Celtic feel, with mandolin and percussion with finely crafted poetic lyrics from Lee on the raw power of love And if the moonlight starts to ignite/ We could fan the flames/ And if the fire speaks desire/ You’ll be listening for/ Baby just once more”.

An eclectic blend of Americana influences, with fine lyrics and vocals from Lee a consistent thread.

 

7/10
7/10

About David Jarman 117 Articles
Long time fan of Americana genre, from early days of Ry Cooder, through to today's thriving scene. Regular visitor to USA ( Nashville/Austin/Memphis/LA ) live music junkie, I play guitar, mandolin, harmonica, plus vocals, run monthly jam session in Broadstairs
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Alan Peatfield

A promising review – frustrated by the lack of a taster track!