Like stories behind scars, the music of Michael Lee captures nostalgia, but with modesty. In his solo album, Yesterday and Every Day After, Lee’s consideration and reflection of moments past play out so naturally. The flux of time slows down listening to this record and your pensive state journeys into his heart and his guts. Lee sings raw lullabies in this relative truth leaving you to conjugate the endless possibilities of “what was he going through?” all while you’re capturing a timeless mixture of fervor and ventilation.
Simply sincere and considerably endearing are the lyrics and voice of this Napa Valley native. One can empathize with his lyrical shades of blue like the self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. Each song possesses dream-like attributes, like the carefully placed notes of the glockenspiel in “Hide”, suspending moments in time and molding echoes of his past into living, breathing poetry.
“Going through struggles in my life sometimes makes me write more; I guess it just helps me get things off my chest. But I also get really inspired by places I’ve been people I meet. Traveling usually spawns new material. And going to shows really gets me excited to write and perform too. Hardly ever do I leave a show without a new-found passion for music. And playing with all the great musicians here in Chico. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such talent here.”
Michael has been very active in the Chico music community, where he dwells today. Aside from his solo project, Lee is a member of Surrogate, Mute Witness and Carousel, bands that continue to inspire him and get him excited to play.
Ryan Maker, guitarist of Mute Witness speaks genuinely about his fellow band member, “Mike is a pretty versatile musician who generally likes to keep things simple but can pull out all the stops when need be, similar to his personality, actually. Generally he's a very mellow, collected guy but every once and a while will surprise you with something hilarious or kinda crazy and then lets it roll off like it was nothing.”
Core family members have also greatly influenced Michael’s music and the way he feels about music.
“My dad was in a band back in the day and choir too I think. My mom sang a little bit too. Actually she sings a lot. Every time I visit she just walks around the house singing her heart out all day. It’s funny. And my older brother plays guitar and bass. He’s been in a couple of bands with me .My younger brother just started taking a music class in college. He’s all about it. Every time I talk to him he’s asking me questions about music or guitar or piano or whatever. It’s rad.”
The piano is one of his top three favorite instruments. His other two favorites, cello and the French horn, he feels “bring the listener in and make the songs that much more intimate.” Surprisingly enough he had not mentioned the acoustic guitar as evoking the same amount of intimacy. The finger picking sounds in, “The Jealous Type”, “English”, and “Sad Song” are incredibly indicative of Lee’s deepest nature. He relishes in the feeling he gets when fans connect with him at this level.
“Knowing that your music has affected somebody,” is one of his favorite aspects of the music process. “It’s a great feeling to have played well or to have written a good song. But the most rewarding part is playing a show and having the crowd right there with you, entirely into what you’re doing.”
On top of being a tremendous talent, Rett Mathews, guitarist in Mute Witness describes Michael, “He's easy to get along with and has a good sense of humor. Everyone loves his hair.” What more does one need?
- Andrea Aracil, Binary Sounds
Yesterday and Every Day After is available on iTunes.
Visit Michael Lee at www.parapetrecords.com .