Albert Lee – Festival Theatre, Saturday 11th August 2018
The evening kicked off with The Turner Brown Band – an international collaboration of US Gospel singer and slide guitarist Nikki Brown and Australian slide guitarist Dan Turner. And what a start!! They were sensational with sounds very reminiscent of The Allman Brothers Band. Highlights were an amazing version of “Amazing Grace” and an emotion-charged “Nice Shirt” which was a tribute to Nikki’s cousin. They received a standing ovation and were so good we bought tickets to their full gig the following night.
After the interval came the highlight of the evening – Albert Lee. After a lifetime of playing with some of music’s greatest legends, from Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker to The Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris and more, plus touring with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, 74 year-old Lee brought his band to the Adelaide Guitar Festival.
The British-born country-rock artist started his career during the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene of sixties London, when he swapped bands with the likes of Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe. After moving to the U.S. and assimilating himself into the country music scene, Albert quickly garnered a reputation as one of the fastest guitar players in the business – and he definitely showed us why.
The Adelaide audience was treated to a range of styles – from country to soul, rockabilly to blues. After opening with a cover of Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready” he slowed the pace with a couple of country songs including a soulful version of Rodney Crowell’s “Song For The Life”.
He had the audience enthralled again with some rockabilly and blues with songs like “Restless” (Carl Perkins) and “Runaway Train” (John Stewart) before settling back into country mode again with his own song “Country Boy”. Albert showed that he is not only master of the guitar but is equally proficient on the keyboard with a delightful version of the ballad “Highway Man”.
Back on his guitar for the last few tracks the crowd were amazed at the speed of his fingers as he made the guitar sing. After a brief exit the band returned for an encore and finished the night with a lively version of Johnny Burnette’s “Tear It Up”.
All up, Adelaide was treated to some great guitar music by two amazing and very professional bands. Listening to comments from the crowd it seemed everyone was very impressed – I know we were!
Words by John Glennie