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HRL Interviews : Albert Lee

Albert Lee, the English guitar great known to some as Mr. Telecaster, has played with the Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, The Crickets and Bill Wyman. The 79-year-old sat down for a Hugh’s Room Live interview to talk about the intimacy of playing a smaller venue. “I actually prefer it,” he says. “The sound and you can see everybody, get a sense of love from the audience. You don’t quite get that from the big arenas.” Lee said when the stage is smaller he feeds off the other musicians more. He has played Canada countless times, particularly over the 25 years he played with the Everly Brothers, and calls our fans “enthusiastic.” “In the last few years, it’s been Hugh’s Room in Toronto,” Lee says.
Full Transcript

Green Room Sessions: Episode 1 Albert Lee

Video starts with Hugh’s Room Live logo fade in. Logo is white text with red accent on Live. Behind the logo an audio engineer fade audio on mixer while trumpet music is focused in the background. Piano players hands fade out while Priya Sams face fades in and a trumpet player and double bass player perform. Video of albert Lee playing Guitar finalizes the montage before Priya begins her interview.
Priya Sam joins Albert Lee in an audio suite of The El Mocambo in front of a red wall. Priya is wearing a black long-sleeved sweater, and her brown hair is down.
00:33 Priya: Hello And welcome to Hugh’s Room Live, Green Room Sessions, I’m Priya
Sam and on behalf of everyone at Hughes Room Live, we are so thrilled to present thi s series of interviews with musicians and we are also very grateful to the Canada Cou ncil for seeing the value in this project and for funding the series.
00:52 wide shot of Priya and Albert sitting for the interview. Albert wears a grey sweater with his white hair hitting his shoulder.
Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Albert Lee, one of the most respected and renowned guitarists in the world. Thank you so much for being here, Albert.
Albert: Oh, thank you. Honoured.
Priya: it’s great to have you. Let’s talk about how important a venue is to an artist like
yourself. You know, you’ve obviously played around the world, including at Hugh’s Room in Toronto, which is a more intimate venue. So how does being in a
more intimate space like Hugh’s Room impact a performer like yourself?
Albert: Oh, I prefer it. You know, it’s the sound
and you can see everybody and get a sense of love from the audience, you know, which you don’t quite get that from the big arenas. You know, there’s a lot of
noise and roars going on, but it’s, it’s impersonal, really.
Priya: 01:48 And do
you change anything about your style when you’re in these more intimate venues or do es it impact your performance on stage at all?
Albert: Yeah, well, you get adjusted to a small venue,
small stage, and you can feed off of each other a lot better than, you know, it seems like when they put you on a big stage they spread you way out from each other and you just don’t get the same same feeling that you get if you were in close contact. Priya: That makes
sense that you know being on those bigger stages you’re further apart you don’t have kind of the energy as much from the fans or from your bandmates so how do you kee p that energy on stage or how do you bring that energy?
Albert: 02:35
Yeah it’s it’s
a little lonely out there you know in the big arenas you know that’s why I much prefer doing it in a situation like this where you can look at each other and feed off of each other with the playing and smiles certain licks and whatever you know that you know it all helps to show along. (There is a computer monitor with audio files behind albert for this segment of the interview.)
Priya: 02:57 Well we
are here in Canada so we have to talk about the Canadian fans as well you’ve played all over the world is there anything that stands out to you about fans here in Canada?

Albert: Oh they’ve always been very
enthusiastic you know I’ve been up here quite a few times with the Everly brothers I w as with them for 25 years you know and the response that they got was just incredible
you know but you know I I think more recently
in the last few years it’s just been Hugh’s room in Toronto you know I’ve played in Se attle a couple of times you know but this is not quite this has been much better really. Priya: 03:49
Well that’s great to hear. You’ve been playing
for more than five decades now which is just incredible. What
are you most excited about for this phase of your career?
Well that continues surprisingly you know a lot of people can only keep working for a decade or one or two decades you know but it’s I’ve been so lucky it’s just kept rolling
along you know just when I’m I lose one band all of a sudden You know another doo r opens, you know, and there’s another band there and I thought well, this is great Priya:04:47
That’s certainly a testament to your talent and your adaptability. You’ve played
so many different styles of music over the years.
I have yeah, I have yeah You know, I started out playing Early rock and roll and then R &B during the 60s,
you know And then I got into country music and realized I couldn’t make much of a liv ing playing country music in England at that time And then I was in a band called at hands and feet and we that was our first Introduction to the to the US,
you know ended up playing on the West Coast and Los Angeles and I Couldn’t believe
the response, you know, it was just it was fantastic It always has been here, you kno w, and it turned around eventually I’ll go back to England now been working solid now for about 20 years in in in the UK going back there regularly and It seems that I’ve de veloped an audience probably around my age,
you know, I’ve seen and mostly about you know, the retirees come out to see me play , you know, and that’s good, you know because they’ve got in the disposable income t oo, you know, and they they love the music.
Priya: 05:46 You’ve had such an extensive career. You’ve played all kinds of different music with so many different bands. How do you keep things fresh and exciting?
Albert: Yeah, sometimes I get get very quite tired doing it, you know, we’ve just had a quite a grueling tour and I get to rest up for a couple of days and then all of a sudd en you miss it again and you want to do it again I can’t wait to get home actually and drag out some older guitars of mine because I’ll be missing them you know on this to
ur for instance I’m just playing the one guitar you know so yeah you try and keep it fresh.06:31
Priya: it’s really inspiring to hear that you’re still excited about your music and
about your craft. Thank you so much for sharing all of your insights.
Albert: oh thank you yeah it was such a pleasure to have you oh thank you thank you . Michael Booth (New Location. Emcee on Stage with microphone): 06:45
on to business if we’re all set there I don’t need to say very much what can I say abo ut Albert Lee lots of words right legendary musicians the musicians
guitarist guitars we’re so happy to have him here back in Toronto with us and what bet ter place than right here at the El macombo give it up for Albert Lee!
thank you thank you very much I’m ready,

I’m willing, I’m able, I am ready, willing and I’m able ♪ Speaking on a telephone ain’t my speed ♪ ♪ Telling me no letter ’cause I can’t read ♪ ♪ Don’t belong ’cause I’ve bee n gone ♪ ♪ This is the rock already ♪ ♪ Why I’m willing and I’m in ♪ ♪ Boy,
you’re rockin’ and I’m in ♪ ♪ Telling me no letter ’cause I’m ready ♪ ♪ I’m a willing,
I’m in and I’m in ♪ ♪ ♪ Speaking on a telephone in mind Don’t send me no letter ‘Ca use I can’t read Don’t belong to rock and roll I’m ready,
I’m willing to rock and roll all night I’m ready, I’m willing and I’m ready baby ♪ Thank you.
Priya Sam (new location live from the
stage) Thank you all so much for tuning in to this Hugh’s Room Live Green Room ses sion. We will have a total of ten interviews in our series, so please stay tuned for the next one.