The Florida Folklife Program is pleased to present The Lee Boys as part of our Folk Artist Residency series in Tallahassee November 3-4, 2016. As one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles, The Lee Boys will conduct a series of master classes that will culminate in a free concert at the historic Lee Hall Auditorium at Florida A&M University (FAMU) on November 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
The Tallahassee-based Heather Gillis Band will open with their energetic blend of blues, rock, and soul music setting the stage for The Lee Boys who will be joined by the FAMU Concert Choir directed by Dr. Mark Butler. This collaborative performance will showcase the multi-generational aspects of the sacred steel tradition while highlighting its sacred and secular roots. Expect an electrifying, hand-clapping, and foot-stomping good time!
About the Artists
The Lee Boys, comprised of brothers Alvin, Derrick and Keith Lee and their nephews Roosevelt Collier, Alvin Cordy Jr., and Earl Walker, are one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. “Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations. This music form was totally unknown to the world outside of the church until the mid-1990s, when folklorist Robert Stone attended House of God services and recorded the music, as well as its history, contributing the name “sacred steel.” The Lee Boys are part of the fourth generation of musicians performing in this faith and tradition.
The Heather Gillis Band is comprised of Heather Gillis on vocals and guitar, Nyan Feder on saxophone; Kyle Chervanik on bass guitar, and Marlon Williams on drums. Heather Gillis hails from Tampa, but currently attends Florida State University. She is the complete package as a guitar player, lap steel player, singer, and songwriter. At 21 years old, Heather has not only formed a following at a local level, but has played alongside and befriended members of the Allman Brothers, Col Bruce Hampton, Matt Schofield, North Mississippi All-Stars, The Lee Boys, and many more. In addition to her performances with her band, Heather is a full-time member of Butch Trucks’ current band “Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band.” The Heather Gillis Band’s live shows are energetic and consist of original music as well as rock, blues, and soul standards.
These programs are made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program and with support from the FAMU Department of Music and Institute for Research in Music and Entertainment Studies.