Palmer T. Lee is familiar as one half of The Lowest Pair. He, along with partner Kendl Winter, have released five commendable albums under that name since 2003. Now, the pair are taking a break from their day jobs to pursue solo projects. Lee’s is the first to surface and it surfaces with a real splash.
The title ‘Winebringer’ stems from Lee’s admiration of the Sufi poet Hafiz; in particular his collection of poems ‘The Book of the Winebringer’. Lee himself wrote poetry long before he picked up his first guitar after being introduced to Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Jerry Garcia by a friend. Lee’s poetry roots are certainly evident in his well-crafted lyrics. The album adheres to the old adage that pain makes for better art than pleasure. It is essentially a break-up album that reflects not only on the loss and pain that the end of a relationship brings, but also on a sense of escape and re-invigoration. Lee describes it as “me laughing while I shake my fist” and “mourning while I’m dancing”.
Musically, Lee operates at the folksy end of the Americana spectrum. The album is largely acoustic with fiddle, mandolin and bass accompanying Lee’s guitar. He picks up his familiar banjo on only one of the tracks. If reference points are needed think Richard Buckner, Creek Dippers era Mark Olson and Sam Amidon. That is damn fine company. However, Palmer T. Lee is a unique talent who deserves to be judged on his own merits. ‘Winebringer’ is a very impressive solo debut which demands and deserves a listen.
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