Raised in rural upstate New York, Eric Lee's earliest introductions to music were the sounds of his mother's piano and the songs of John Gorka, Bob Dylan, and Jackson Browne. He began studying classical violin and traditional Irish fiddle at the age of nine, and was soon performing and recording with local artists. After moving to Western Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley, he continued playing live and in studios, branching into psychedellic rock and bluegrass, playing in the pit orchestras of musicals, and writing his own songs and compositions.
  In 2007, Lee attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, where the newly-formed supergroup, The Strangelings (featuring musical legends Pete & Maura Kennedy, Christina Thompson, Rebecca Hall, Ken Anderson, and Cheryl Prashker,) spotted Eric and his fiddle and invited him to join them on an informal campground performance. That Saturday night, after two days into his first music festival, Eric Lee, (then eighteen), was playing on the main stage as the band's newest member.
   With the conclusion of the Strangelings' two-year run, Eric became a member of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's House Band, a position formerly held by virtuosic violinists Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Jake Armerding, playing alongside some of the most respected and gifted professionals in the folk community, and has since accompanied such iconic artists as John Gorka, Peter Rowan, Vance Gilbert, Dan Navarro, The Kennedys, Lucy Kaplansky, The Nields, Tracy Grammer, the Grand Slambovians, Tom Rush, and Eliza Gilkyson, among others. It is these landmark artists along with the works of the revered late song smith Dave Carter that inform and inspire Lee's own songwriting.
 The music of Eric Lee is a chimera of genres and influences; an ever-evolving world of sonic exploration with stand-alone melodies always at it's core. His new EP traverses a range of emotion, from the unbridled joy of love in "Miles Above the Ground" to the wrenching pain of Eros in "To Write you a Song"; the unflattering honesty of coping with loss ("Life Without You") to the cosmic petition to the ancient powers in "Hands of Fortune."
 In addition to performing as a solo artist (and on some occasions with a backing band), he continues to work as a session artist and sideman.  He plans to record and release a full-length album in the near future.

 

 

Reviews

“Miles above the Ground” opens this six song set of originals from Western Massachusetts phenom Eric Lee who brings his smooth, compelling voice and introspection to this strong four and a half minute composition.  Lee has more than a grasp of the vibrations he sends forth, playing violins, mandolin, electric violin and guitar with the music here focused, entertaining and highly commercial.  “The Raven” shuffles along under J.J. O’Connell’s drums and the bass of Rhees Williams while “Rose and Storm” adds a balance.  Critics can compare the storytelling of a Gordon Lightfoot to the dramas offered by Jim Croce, but to say that Eric Lee paints with his own style and magic is to understate what this artist has crafted.  And take caution – there are many, many singer/songwriters out there named Eric Lee, so one has to seek out the music that I’m writing about here. Lee has performed on the road with the great Eric Andersen, Peter Rowan of The Rowan Brothers and Seatrain, John Gorka, Vance Gilbert, the Grand Slambovians and so many others.  It’s easy to get mistaken for a backing musician, as Carole King and Neil Diamond at first were thought by the public to be songwriters dabbling with hit records.  Time proved both King and Diamond to be major forces beyond their work for other artists and this Lee is himself making waves regionally outside of the background circuit he participated in for the last decade and more. With Jim Henry’s electric guitar and dobro fitting in perfectly with this quartet and some backing vocals from Brie Sullivan and Max Wareham, these half a dozen songs stand up to repeated spins with  “Hands of Fortune”  and “To Write You a Song” truly remarkable.    At the risk of sounding overly complimentary, those who have followed this writer’s thousands of reviews over the past almost five decades know that I can be as rough on poorly made recordings as I can hand out the accolades on the ones with merit. There’s something very special here. You’ll know you’ve reached the right Eric Lee as this music stands in a class by itself.

- Joe Viglione (The Noise, Boston)