Posted by: Amy | December 30, 2010

Introducing the Daniel Lee Band

Photos courtesy of Lyn Sengupta - TSJ Multimedia

Winder, Georgia native Daniel Lee started playing guitar when he was 15 years old and he’s never looked back. He says that he’s never had a formal lesson and picked up most of what he knows by practicing and by watching other people play. “When I can’t sleep I’m playing something.” When he lived at home, his late-night playing drew ire from his younger brother, Blaine. “He would stay up all night until 3 o’clock keeping me awake and I had school the next day,” said Blaine, the band’s bassist. Even Daniel admits that he wasn’t the best guitar player in the early days. “It was ear-wrecking sounds when I first started,” Daniel said with a laugh. It’s safe to say that he’s come a long way. He now fronts a band of talented musicians which includes guitarist Patrick Stevens and drummer Jeremy Phillips, in addition to Daniel and Blaine. When Jeremy was 15, his parents told him that they would buy him either a drum set or a rifle. He chose the drums and began taking lessons. Jeremy and Daniel grew up together and when they both started playing music, they collaborated on several ventures prior to the start of the Daniel Lee Band. Blaine stumbled into the band after hanging out with Daniel and his buddies. While he was hanging out, Daniel encouraged him to play around with a bass that someone had left behind. When I asked Blaine why he joined the band, he jokingly replied, “I just came into this accidentally. I just wanted to be cool with them and I wanted them to hang out with me and like me.” After he jammed with the guys the first time, Blaine said, “We finished playing and I was like, ‘Man! We sounded good!’ Even though we didn’t!” He has certainly picked up the instrument quickly and when he’s on stage, he’s rockin’ out and singing along the whole time. Patrick was the last addition to the band. He responded to a guitarist wanted flyer posted on a message board at Guitar Center and got in touch with Daniel and the guys. They hit it off and the band’s sound was complete. Prior to joining the Daniel Lee Band, Patrick developed his interest in playing guitar when he was in seventh grade and was encouraged by both his dad and grandfather. His love for music drove him to pursue a degree from the Atlanta Institute of Music. He also played in bands that focused on other genres before joining the DLB.

The guys bring a wide variety of influences. “That’s what brings our sound together. Because we have such different influences,” says Daniel. “When I first started, my biggest influence was Johnny Cash. Then Jamey Johnson came along and I fell in love with his songwriting. He’s one of the best lyricists there is.” Patrick credits Nashville hit songwriter Chuck Cannon as his biggest influence and he’s also a big Merle Haggard fan. Blaine’s influences lean more toward outlaw country and southern rock, mainly Waylon Jennings and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Jeremy’s a big rock fan and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham is his favorite drummer. He’s also a big fan of some of the more modern rock bands including Incubus and Tool.

With such an array of influences, the band could have really chosen any genre. Daniel was led to country after he decided to branch out on his own. He had been playing with rock bands, but when he tried to write his own songs, they all had a country sound. His voice is also well-suited for country music. Daniel has a passion for songwriting and loves writing songs by himself and as well as collaborating with other writers. He and Patrick have co-written several of the band’s songs. Daniel has also written with talented local writers including rising star Brantley Gilbert. In addition, he recently made a trip to Nashville to work with several writers. When I asked if writing was something that came naturally or if it was a craft that he developed, he said that he wasn’t sure where it came from. Patrick was quick to add, “This guy – you can be sitting down and you can just play something and he’ll say ‘Alright.’ and he closes his eyes for a second and says, ‘Keep playing.’ and all of a sudden he’ll just spout off this outlandish, great stuff that you have no idea where it came from.” Daniel adds, “Then I forget it because I didn’t write it down!” Patrick says, “That’s why we keep a notebook with us at all times!”

Left to Right: Patrick Stevens, Daniel Lee, Blaine Lee, Jeremy Phillips

The guys are super nice and really seem to be enjoying playing music. While they’ve all still got day jobs for now, they’re steadily building a fan base and have started having audience recognition of their original material. Daniel was even recognized by a fan when he attended another artist’s concert in North Carolina. “That was cool, but it is also still new to me.” The band’s repertoire of songs includes both rockin’ redneck anthems and heartfelt ballads. They aim to have songs that will appeal to a wide variety of fans. The favorite songs of the fans at shows in more rural areas are different from the favorites of fans at the more metropolitan shows, which demonstrates their wide appeal. In the midst of all of their success, the guys stay grounded by surrounding themselves with family and friends. Several crew members are either family or close friends and that’s something that’s really important to the guys. Daniel says, “We work as a team to do everything. It’s just the way that we want to have it. There’s no one person doing this. We all just try to share it with each other and whatever success we do have in the future, everybody’s going to feel it.”

The Daniel Lee Band recently launched its official website – www.danielleeband.com. The site is great source for all things DLB including the latest tour dates.
The guys are closing out an exciting year by opening for Blackberry Smoke at their big New Year’s Eve show at Peachtree Tavern. Daniel summed up this year’s success by saying, “I’m loving every day of it! I’m on the edge of my seat constantly!” You won’t want to miss this unbelievably awesome show! Get your tickets now!

If the DLB is playing in your neck of the woods, it would be worth your while to check them out!! A special thanks to the guys of the DLB, Rob Cain and Lyn Sengupta for facilitating the interview and providing the press photos.


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