Albert Lee Band plays Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall, Fairfield Theatre Company and Old Saybrook’s The Kate
Albert Lee grew up in London, where he used to hang out with Jimmy Page. Over the years he’s made music with everyone from Paul McCartney to Eric Clapton.
“Jimmy Page and I met when we were 16 or 17,” Lee said in a phone interview. “I played in the basement of this coffee bar where a lot of musicians used to gather, around 1961. Jimmy used to come down and we became good friends.
“I don’t see him so often now,” he said of the Led Zeppelin founder. “We kind of learned to play the guitar together, really. We were listening to the old rock’ n’ roll and learning to play.”
Lee made a name for himself touring with the likes of Clapton, The Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band. He earned two Grammy Awards and has his own band. Not to mention Clapton has said Lee, 74, is his favorite guitarist of all time.
The Albert Lee Band will perform at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall on Saturday, Jan. 6, at Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne on Sunday, Jan. 7, and at Old Saybrook’s The Kate on Saturday, Jan. 13.
When performing in Connecticut, Lee said he and his band will do a mix of country and rock, and he’ll play a few ballads on piano.
“People who have not seen me before just expect me to be playing guitar; they don’t know I can sing and play the piano...”
Lee said he especially loves to do “Runaway Train,” by John Stewart, and Jimmy Webb’s “Highway Man.”
In February Lee heads to Europe. “I’m doing my usual (concert) run around the U.K., Holland, Germany and Switzerland. This is an annual thing; I’ve been doing it every year now for about 30 years. It’s good fun... something I look forward to.”
Lee, whose dad played piano and accordion, got into music as a kid, starting piano at 7. “I used to bash at the piano so my folks thought I should get lessons. I never practiced but I did progress, but not quick enough for the last teacher I had. She told my folks, ‘I think you’re wasting your money.’ ”
After learning some classics and pop tunes, Lee heard the music of Jerry Lee Lewis and decided to take up the guitar. He said he became proficient in 18 to 24 months. He left school at 15 and tried a few day jobs, such as working in a custard factory, but found he earned more as a musican.
Among Lee’s memorable experiences, he played on Clapton’s live album, “Just One Night,” where his vocals were featured on the cover of Mark Knopfler’s “Setting Me Up.” In 2002, he joined Clapton, McCartney, Tom Petty and other legends on stage at the Concert for George (Harrison) at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
email@example.com; Twitter: @LindaTKoonz