“This is intended as a compliment: Jacksonville songwriter Laurel Lee''s wry country music sounds like literary fiction backed by the Heartbreakers.” -Folio Weekly
"You''ve got the voice of butter, and the attitude of acid, and together they’re fu@*ing great!!!!" – A nice fan
Within the tradition of great country western music, the “Eastward Pioneer” project embraces North Florida. This is the pure, sassy country that you need to thumb your nose at your ex. These are anthems of common sense, frustration, beauty, love, tall tales, and true love. These are our stories.
Laurel Lee moved from Portland, Oregon two years ago to the Historic Springfield neighborhood facing downtown Jacksonville, Florida. The music arrived and cooked in funny ways, with a similar pace but with different hangovers from her 2005 release, “Why Don’t We Don’t Get Married.” “Have You Ever” grew from two days behind a gigantic floor sander while working for a cement construction company at the Mayport Naval Base. “I Should not be in the Kitchen” wrote itself during a late night quesadilla incident. “I Don’t Miss Missing You” claimed a new era, one free from the “oldest heartaches.” The “Chicken Bomb” is a terrible, horrid Florida legend that demanded life.
She met Darin Ronan (drums) through friends of friends, and soon Joey Kerr (lead guitar) through Darin. An old college friend of her husband’s, John Mortensen, wanted to get back into playing bass, and wouldn’t you know it, John and Joey had been best friends through childhood and next door neighbors. They hadn’t seen nor heard from one another in fifteen years, and met for the first time at the first rehearsal.
Joey Kerr--Joey is a monster guitar player. Kicks and licks, delicate and smashing, he fills and tops the sounds he is a part of. He can make a sensitive song lighter, a heavy song darker, and yet still appear as though he just woke up. He arrives to each performance with the entourage of his whole family. Soon we will have to live without him more often so he can pursue his musical opportunities like his recent tour in Europe.
John Mortensen—“Mortie”, former best friend of the aforementioned Joey, hoped to find a good chance to start playing again. He works a stressful but fulfilling week, spends time with the lovely Elizabeth, plays for his church, and is so dedicated to the details relating to his family, that his schedule for the most part is full. His attention to this project is noted and deeply appreciated. Mortie plays a deep bass, a warm, heart-beat bass that you don’t notice until you realize that that’s all you hear. Lovely.
Darin Ronan—A talented drummer and respected musician in Jacksonville, Darin came to the project through a family connection. He supported and encouraged this project though he didn’t necessarily have the time with his family, business, and many other music projects. His prioritization was deeply appreciated, and many good wishes toward his future projects are heartfelt.
Dolly Penland—Holy cow. The former lead singer of Dollyweed, Dolly met Laurel Lee at open mic shows when Laurel Lee first arrived. Dolly’s voice verily drove the glass out of the panes with pushy clarity. When first mixed, the harmony tracks that Dolly sang stood up, strangled, put hands on hips and rang, “I am Alpha!”! Of course, the second round of mixing accommodated her ringing announcements. A close approximation of her domination is to be heard on this record’s “Chicken Bomb.”
November 17, 2007
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