Tim Lee 3 “Devil’s Rope”
One of the better acts at IPO is the Tim Lee 3, which is essentially Tim Lee (Windbreakers, Marti Jones, Let’s Active) and his wife Susan Bauer Lee accompanied by Chris Bratta on drums. Devil’s Rope is a mix of Southern rock, blues and pop all done with solid proficiency and fiery spirit. “Signal” opens it and its the most pop oriented tune with Susan’s bright clear vocal leading the way. The title track is a sing-along blues stomp with a hand-claps and cool reverb-drenched guitar.
“Monkey Dance” is whimsical look about touring; struggling musicians with great guitar work from a “never-was.” A bit of Southern Culture On The Skids show up on the fuzz tones of “Cut-Rate Divorce” and “Judging You.” Overall, a really sweet album that has enough variety to prevent predictability and some great songs sprinkled throughout. They are hard at work on a new album, and I look forward to it.
Gail George “The Barrio Sessions with Early Times”
Gail George was another “live” hit at IPO that’s decidedly off the power pop genre. The Barrio Sessions were recorded in East Harlem, and George has a silky vocal with pop smarts playing with multi-instrumentalist Early Times. “Mythomaniac” is a soulful torch song with bongos and little Santana-like guitar flourishes. Gail has an emphatic approach that is similar to Laura Nyro, Carole King and Joni Mitchell (all obvious influences here).
The big single here is “Gonna Get Worse” with a strong bass line and strong backing vocals with its hook. Also a highlight is “Nobody’s Friend” with its sad lyric, somber trumpet that highlights Gail’s willowy vocal performance. “Walk Away” is another highlight with its strong coda (particularly good performed live). The album second half fails to generate much excitement, but I enjoyed the understated tone and hope to hear more from this talented singer-songwriter.