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Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Nathan Lee - Risk Everything

Nathan Lee - Risk Everything
2009, One Revolution Entertainment

Nathan Lee's back story is something to hear. Growing up just outside of New York City, Lee's father owned a recording studio, and Lee was bit by the performing bug at a young age. After creating quite a buzz on the Northeast club circuit, Lee took his game to Nashville, where he ended up with a licensing deal that allowed him to write songs for other artists. Success and money came, but writing for others was an empty experience. Lee went back to writing for himself until money got tight, and then started a painting business that became a major source of financial support. Once again money and success followed, but life without music was an empty one. Lee gave everything up to make music again and ended up living in his car for a time. Lee eventually ventured into music and tour production, again building a successful business and once again finding that his music suffered. They say the third time's the charm, and Lee gave it all up once again to make music. That last decision has led Lee to where he is now, with a new album, Risk Everything, coming out on September 1, 2009.

Immersed deeply in spirituality and a gritty, arena-rock persona that would do Bruce Springsteen proud, Nathan Lee sparkles and shines like a rough diamond. He opens Risk Everything with Open Road, a 1980's Rock/Pop influenced tune about finding your path (at last). The music suggests the freedom one finds when making the right choices. Hold Me Down opens with slide guitar and a funky rhythm tied to a soulful chorus in a song about striving for your dreams with no reserve. This is a great Pop/Rock song with an unforgettable hook. Bring Down The Fire is a song about Faith and Redemption, defined loosely in Spiritual terms. Wrecking Ball has a quiet sense of urgency that runs through it, although the song itself runs a bit flat (not in pitch).
Bleeding Black is a monumental piece of songwriting, crossing the divide between Country, Pop/Rock and Singer/Songwriter as if they don't exist. There's a Tom Waits feel to this song and a sense of spiritual fulfillment that is startling and legitimate. Poetically speaking this is an amazing composition, and the music is incredible. High Speed Low Drag finds Nathan Lee sounding vaguely like Gordon Lightfoot on the verses but launching into a vibrant and lyrically dense rock chorus. Still is a spiritual anthem about refusing to stagnate; it's the theme of a man whose already lost everything and knows there is nothing to lose (hence the title of the album). The song is uplifting and meaningful and likely to find seeds of understanding in many who listen. Lee closes out with Broke And Hollow Man, a gospel tune with secular leanings about how simplicity sheds light on truth. It sounds like it could be a theme song for Lee. The song references sin but doesn't push any particular Faith but faith itself. This is an amazing tune; you'll hear traces of Joe Cocker here, but Broke And Hollow Man, and Lee himself are 100% originals.

On Risk Everything, Nathan Lee does, and wins. Risk Everything is one of the most inspiring listens of the year, teaching gospel truths in human terms and magical songs. Nathan Lee has been high and low over the course of his life, from having it all to having nothing. Risk Everything finds Lee at a point where he's finally doing what he was made to do, and all the doors to the hall stand open. Come on in. You'll be glad you did.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Nathan Lee at or You can pre-order Risk Everything through Nathan Lee’s webstore.

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