(photo credit: Shanda Boyett / www.musiccrushgirl.com )
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires*NEW*
There Is A Bomb In Gilead
It won’t be easy finding a recent set transmitting more passion or generating more soul-burnin’ BTU’s than the debut disc of this Birmingham-based four-piece. Bains’ so aptly-named band serves up a combustible blend of Southern rock and soul, the bandleader’s writing tapping deep roots as he throws down vocally with an authority well beyond his years. There’s not one slouch among the tracks on Gilead but the ballads “Reba” and “Righteous, Ragged Songs” and the raver “The Red, Red Dirt Of Home” jump out. This one ought to make more than a few “Best Of” lists this year.
Reviewed By: Duane Verh
JAMBANDS (online music site) – Very positive album review with album art.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
There Is A Bomb In Gilead
Alive Naturalsound Records
The last time I wrote about Lee Bains III was almost three years ago to the day. The occasion was a review of Singlewide by the Dexateens, a great-but-gone band that Bains played guitar in. I concluded that review with the following: “The Dexateens have made the album of their career. If you missed buying Wilco’s AM when it first came out – or better yet, the Replacements’ Let It Be – you have found redemption in Singlewide.”
Well, I still think Singlewide is a great album, even though the Dexateens are no more. Here’s the deal, however: take that raggedy-assed blue jean grit of AM and stir it into a bucket of the punk-but-smart vibe of the ‘Mats’ Let It Be, slather on some southern soul, and hit it with a few dashes of just plain damn cool – that’ll put you on the road to understanding what Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires’ There Is A Bomb In Gilead sounds like.
The tunes are penned by Bains and The Glory Fires play them like this might just be the last record on Earth. Not in terms of franticness, thrash, or desperation – rather, they just plain make ‘em count. There are no wasted moves here. Drummer Blake Williamson and bassist Justin Colburn know when to let the groove burble along like a pair of idling glasspacks (it gets no cooler than Colburn’s bassline on “Righteous, Ragged Songs” – unless it’s Williamson’s thumb-in-the-beltloops beat on “Choctaw Summer”). And they know just exactly when to slam the pedal to the floormat: Colburn drives “Centreville” hard and deep into the corners, culminating in a fierce, thrashing/smashing “Train Kept A’Rollin’”-style drum explosion by Williamson.
While Bains plays some keys on There Is A Bomb In Gilead, his main instrument is guitar. He and lead picker Matt Wurtele make a great team; their dry-toned work on “The Red, Red Dirt Of Home” sounds like the Ron Wood/Keith Richards weaves on Wood’s I’ve Got My Own Album To Do, while the twang of “Reba” recalls the Stones’ “Dead Flowers”. Listen to “Opelika”: Wurtele’s shimmering leads flash and sparkle all around Bains’ vocal, but he never gets in the way or overplays – it truly is another voice. And speaking of voices, I’ve yet to hear Bains interpret somebody else’s songs. As far as his own go, however, he’s the man to deliver them. He knows where the heart of each and every one of them is.
There are a few songs that had – had – to have been recorded at midnight by their sound and vibe (the weary goodbye of “Everything You Took”; the snapping, biting “Ain’t No Stranger”). And if the stripped-to-the-bone title track wasn’t laid down on a Sunday morning, well, I don’t want to know about it. People spend careers (and a lot of production bucks) trying to sound this soulful.
This is a debut album? Holy ol’ Christ …
Hang on, world: here come Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires..
NASHVILLE SCENE – Positive Critic’s Picks show preview
Cassino w/Lee Bains III and Glory Fires & Jimmy Wisconsin
Lee Bains III and Glory Fires at The Basement
When: Sat., May 12, 9 p.m.
From Birmingham, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires exemplify the new strain of Southern rock that’s come to life in the post-Drive-By Truckers era. A former member of Dexateens, Bains specializes in straightforward, catchy songs that sit somewhere amidst The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, The Allman Brothers and David Bowie circa “Panic in Detroit.” The guitars provide plenty of hooks that say something about the emotional life of these punk-loving, down-home Southerners — their pain is undisguised, but they cut the angst with music that can be austere and mysterious. On their new full-length, There Is a Bomb in Gilead, Bains and his quartet explore a brand-new South: “Everything You Took” mentions a Walker Percy novel and a Ramones T-shirt, while “Magic City Stomp” is garage-rock that quotes the Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Bains has brains and humor, and the band can really stomp.
— Edd Hurt
1604 8th Ave. S
DUSTED (online music magazine) – Positive album review with album art and related links
Artist: Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires
Album: There is a Bomb in Gilead
Lee Bains III was a late addition to The Dexateens, joining the punk-spliced-to-Muscle Shoals outfit’s three-guitar attack in 2008, in time for the band’s final album Singlewide. The Dexateens, along with The Quadrajets (and later, The Immortal Lee County Killers), defined a certain kind of southern garage punk in the early ’00s, incorporating not just blues, but gospel, redneck rock (Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Allmans) and soul into an incendiary onslaught. Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires picks up where the Dexateens left off, with ragged blues, rampant stomps and barroom guitar brawls. There is a Bomb in Gilead is as deeply felt as it is deeply fried, as indebted to Al Green as to Iggy and the Stooges.
Bains’s band is young-ish, raw and full of energy. His guitar player, Matt Wuertele, grew up under the influence of The Dexateens and The Quadrajets, bassist Justin Colburn played with Bains in Arkadelphia, and manic, sunglasses-at-night, singing drummer Blake Williamson has played with Dan Sartain and Taylor Hollingsworth. A few weeks ago, I saw Bains and his band play like they were on fire to a crowd of three other bands and maybe seven paying customers. They conceded exactly nothing to the fact that no one was there and played the best set of garage punk I’ve seen all year. A Bomb in Gilead, assisted by several garage vets (Tim Kerr, Lynn Bridges, Jim Diamond), captures that live sound and goes it one better, uncovering unexpected depth, soul and intelligence in a set of boot-stomping songs.
Live, their best songs are the rocking ones. Guitar-squalling, eerily harmonized “Centreville” and unstoppable “Magic City Stomp” are both tight, aggressive bursts of punk attitude, though the more complicated “Centreville” sounds better on the record, and harder-running “Magic City” comes across best in the club. The slower songs open up on Gilead, revealing strong, sure country blues chops and surprisingly sensitive lyrics. “Everything You Took” stings with Let It Bleed-style guitar twang and slouching, bruised and blown-out vocals, but it really makes its mark with the words. Bains sounds spent, exhausted, beaten as he makes one last ditch effort to hold onto the girl, offering “You can keep my Walker Percy…You can keep that tee-shirt my brother got the time he saw the Ramones,” and, I think, probably watching her walk away anyway. In “Centreville,” Bains slips in a line about being “overeducated and underemployed” into its ferocious attack, and judging by the words, he’s not kidding.
The other thing that emerges on CD is how naturally Bains and his crew mine Southern soul. The title song, which closes out the album, is the real sleeper, its gospel melody worn threadbare, its arrangements cut back to piano, drums, a little bass, and rough and righteous call and response. It’s a slow song, but backed with drama, as Bains squeals like James Brown, rasps like O.V. Wright and stretches out the climaxes like the Reverend Al Green. Not many punk bands could bear the scrutiny of such a long, tight close-up, but Lee Bains and his guys get better the more you look at them.
By Jennifer Kelly
TUSCALOOSA NEWS (Tuscaloosa daily) – Positive Secret Stages show preview.
GETLOCAL: Secret Stages 2012 preview
Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 1:21 by cory.pennington
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires
They are playing in town soon so I’ll save the majority of my gushing for that preview, but this band has ‘it.’ Their new album, “There is a Bomb in Gilead,” is hands down my favorite record for 2012 so far. If you missed them at the Tuscaloosa Get Up in March, you should go watch the video of their performance at WellThatsCool.com. I can’t overstate how much this band rocks. It’s a lot.
Listen to: “I Ain’t No Stranger”
WELD FOR BIRMINGHAM (Birmingham weekly) – Positive Secret Stages show preview
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires • Das Haus • Friday • 11:15 p.m.
There’s not enough room here to tell you how much I like Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires and their first record, There’s a Bomb in Gilead. I want to take this limited space to urge you to see these guys live. The young Bains, a veteran of the Dexateens, already has the stage presence of any great—he is immediately compelling, and he and the Glory Fires are obviously having a great time on stage. His voice is powerful, reminiscent, at times, of an excited John Fogerty or Joe Cocker or, yes, even the Boss. The Glory Fires are the kind of band that would be as comfortable in The Nick as they would in the Alabama Theatre, and for me, man, that’s my kind of band. And though Bains & the Glory Fires are a Birmingham-based band, I still think they’re a big get for Secret Stages (they just got off a big tour of sold out dates opening for the Alabama Shakes) so catch them here in Birmingham while you still can. – MU
BIRMINGHAM NEWS (Birmingham daily) – Positive “Must See” Secret Stages show preview
Secret Stages picks: 4 must-see acts at Birmingham music festival (video)
By Will Grant — The Birmingham News
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, 11:15 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday, Das Haus
Lee Bains, Birmingham native and member of on-again, off-again local group The Dexateens, has finally decided to go his own way with his new project The Glory Fires. And, if his newest release “There Is A Bomb in Gilead” is any indication, Bains is definitely going to be making a name for himself. The music is a seamless blend of garage rock, country soul and punk that recalls The Black Keys or The Alabama Shakes. But Bains is no copycat. While one can hear the Muscle Shoals and Deep South influences, this is a sound unique to Birmingham and North Alabama.
AL.COM (Alabama online A&E site) – Secret Stages show listing with band photo.
NINE BULLETS (online music blog and podcast show) – Positive review with album art and related links.
LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES – THERE IS A BOMB IN GILEAD
Two years ago we’d booked Lee for the Saturday ninebullets.net day party out at SxSW. It was about an hour and a half before they were supposed to play and I realized I had no idea if he was there and, more importantly. I had no idea what he looked like. So, I wandered over to Shane (Two Cow Garage) and asked if he knew who Lee was and if Lee was in the building yet. Shane said (and I quote), “You’ll know him. He’ll be in overalls, carrying a gallon of water and he’ll be the best looking dude in the room.” The minute Lee walked in the room I understood just how terribly accurate Shane’s description had been. An hour later, Lee proved he and his band weren’t just a few pretty faces by completely destroying the room (figuratively not literally). Since then, I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for a Lee Bains album and, finally, we’ve gotten it in There’s A Bomb In Gilead.
Lee Bains, as most of you probably know, was the guitarist for The Dexateens (now Ex-ateens) and the Glory Fires are Matt Wurtele (guitar), Justin Colburn (bass) and Blake Williamson (drums), all well-seasoned vets in the Alabama music scene. Finding himself gigless after the sudden dissolution of The Dexateens, Lee and Co. went to work fleshing out the raw material Lee had that was suddenly without a home.
In a word, There Is A Bomb In Gilead is sexy .The result is everything The Drive-By Truckers have been trying to become since Jason left/was kicked out of the band. The result is pure rock and roll. Pure Muscle Shoals. Pure Essential Listening. Pure American music.
LITTLE ROCK UNDERGROUND (Little Rock music bog) – Positive feature to preview local show with band photo an audio stream.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
“The Glory Fires learned to construct music in the churches of their childhoods, and learned to destroy it in the punk clubs of their youths”. – The Glory Fires
Alright, so I have a feeling this show will make it to one of the other publications in our fair city of Little Rock, of course much nearer to the actual show date, so I thought I’d post this up a bit sooner. Full disclosure, I have seen Lee play with Dexateens a couple times, but I didn’t know that was his name nor did I know he had started this band, so I was pleasantly happy to see this band request grace our inbox.
If you didn’t see the Dexateens, you missed out. They were loud, fun, and always put on a hell of a show. However, enough about Bains’ former band. On to the current, The Glory Fires.
Born out of a hot bed of talent, Birmingham, Alabama more precisely, Bains & The Glory Fires have hit the road in support of their debut album There Is A Bomb In Gilead. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy, and it’s something special. Mixing equal parts Alabama soul and rough & tumble rock ‘n roll, Bains & The Glory Fires sound like they belong in the game. With sharp lyrics, they remind me a twinge of Verbena, another Birmingham outfit, but with a significantly larger amount of pedal steel and Southern twang accentuating the rock vibe they have. I don’t think it is fair to lump them in with all the Alabama things happening, but it is inevitable that there will be comparisons. The sound that is coming from that specific part of the US is pretty unmistakeable, and I always look forward to hearing new bands from the area.
They are rough around the edges, but just polished enough, to catch my attention. When bands become too refined, they lose that certain something that first catches a listener’s ears. All of us can relate to that at some point with a band we really liked that went and got fancy on us. It is the way of music, and I understand sometimes that is what bands have to do in order to be successful. I have high hopes that Bains & The Glory Fires will not immediately jump to that step, so listeners soon to be fans, can savor their raw, unadulterated talent that much longer.
May 18 will be a jam packed night at White Water Tavern. Not only are The Glory Fires playing, but they are sharing the stage with Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s rockers Glossary, and Bloomington, Indiana’s ex-punk and nothing but soul, singer song-writer Austin Lucas. This lineup is certainly a treat for a Friday night in Little Rock. We are definitely looking forward to this show, and hope others are too.
White Water Tavern, for those that don’t know, is located at 2500 W. 7th St. The cover charge is not yet posted, but as a fair guess goes, the show will likely run from $5-7 and kick off between 9:30-10:00.
MOD MOBILIAN (Mobile, AL A&E site) – Album review to preview local show with band photo and two audio streams.
New Bama Album: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires “There Is a Bomb in Gilead”
Lee Bains, after playing with the Dexateens, formed the Glory Fires with fellow Arkadelphia member Justin Colburn, along with Blake Williamson and Matt Wurtele. They just got off a tour with the Alabama Shakes (see the video below – “Dirt Track”).
We think – having seen some of his Twitter posts and even talked to him – that Lee Bains probably wrote this bio himself:
“This is not country music. Really, it’s city music. It’s Southern, but it’s not the kind sold on TV.”
“As much Wilson Pickett as Fugazi, as much the Stooges as the Allman Brothers…on ‘THERE IS A BOMB IN GILEAD’ they deconstruct the music of the Deep South, strip it down and reassemble it, to make a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular.”
Now Lee probably wrote that because he’s a smart guy and he did some fancy book learnin’ up at NYU to get his English degree. Yes, they do “deconstruct” Southern music. He is as much of a fan of Southern culture as we are – and it shows as each song reflects some aspect of Southern music. Although we’d say the roughest are more Molly Hatchet than Fugazi – they range from Southern rock (”Centreville”) to soul (”Everything You Took”) to pretty much modern country (”Righteous, Ragged Songs” or “Reba”).
And that’s not to say this is some dry, academic exercise. There is some great songwriting, and some serious “righteous ruckus” (although you still have to hear “Magic City Stomp” live). But above all “Gilead” works to define and revive Southern rock. It seems he wants to honor our past while continuing to move forward, musically and culturally. Hurrah.
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires will be playing at Alabama Music Box Thursday May 24.
GUITAR WORLD (National monthly music magazine)
Hear It Now: Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires “Centreville”
ALBUM There Is a Bomb in Gilead (Alive Naturalsound)
SOUND Guitarist/singer/songwriter Lee Bains III leads his Birmingham, Alabama–based band in a raucous exploration of the intersection between garage rock, soul, country and punk on this full-length debut. Not unlike acts like the Black Keys, Bains manages to merge these styles into a rollicking, timeless sound with plenty of six-string swagger.
KEY TRACK “Ain’t No Stranger” and “Centreville”
Listen to “Centreville” below:
ARDENT MUSIC BLOG (Memphis, TN music blog for Ardent Studios)
My First Record: Lee Bains III (of Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires)
Standing in the cool, fluorescent cavern of the K-Mart, clacking through the stack of cassette tapes, boasting brightly colored stickers declaring things like “Wow! Only $6.99!” or “Feat. Warren G!,” I paused over one near the bottom. I’d heard of it. Probably from liner notes. One of my daddy’s Allman Brothers albums more than likely. Muddy Waters – The Real Folk Blues. I pulled it from the plastic rack, carefully, turning it over in my fingers, looking at the husky black man’s twin, mustachioed, pompadoured faces on the cover — one shut-eyed and moaning, the other tight-lipped, eyebrows arched, as if to say, “Go on, and try me.”
I turned it over again.
“Mannish Boy.” “Gypsy Woman.” “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had.”
I fished the crumpled ten-dollar bill out of my pocket, and handed it to the lady at the register.
“This it, honey?”
Christmas money, probably. Maybe birthday. (It would’ve been my 11th.) Probably from Aunt Myrt, or maybe Uncle Bill.
There in the backseat, I bit off the corner of the cellophane, and tore off the rest. I cracked it open, pulled out the tape, and stuck it in the Walkman.
It crackled first. I remember the crackle. It sounded like smoke looks. Like barbecue smells. The guitar tickled my ear, the way that gnats and sweat conspire to do in the summertime. I think I blushed. Like I’d heard a dirty joke within earshot of my parents, or like somebody had called me a name. And that voice. It was kind of like the old black gospel music I’d heard. But far simpler. Cruder. Tougher. Sadder. Not pretty enough for the choir loft, I imagined. And there were all those grown-ups yelling and carrying on in the background. Drinking, surely. Cigarettes, too.
The language was familiar. The kinds of words and cadences that rolled out from between the lips of older folks, black and white both, around Birmingham. The kind that the old men in their perfectly creased ball caps and shirts, necks and noses burned deep red or deep black, would use at the Krispy Kreme or on the bleachers at the ballpark. But this man wasn’t cutting up and talking about football, or city politics, or fishing, or church, or carburetors, or old so-and-so, or whatever grown men were supposed to cut up and talk about. He was talking about crying, and being lonely, and drinking, and mean women, and drowning, and dying.
But he wasn’t complaining. I wasn’t sure why it wasn’t complaining, but it wasn’t. Complaining, of course, was something that a man didn’t do. There was just something about the way he sang, the words he chose, the way he spat them out, that sounded like he was daring — like he was BEGGING — the first dumb sumbitch to come forward and tell him he was whining. He’d earned his stripes, and there was something in the earning that was far worse, far more horrible, than anything that could be slung at him again.
Even then, I knew that whatever I was experiencing as a weird longhaired white middle-class boy at a Christian school in Birmingham was pretty far removed from whatever Muddy Waters had endured up to the point he sang “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had.” But, still, listening to that tape, watching the strip malls blur into pine trees through the backseat window, I heard that there was a certain power in putting your heart on your sleeve. And that, once you got the nerve to put it there, there wasn’t a soul that could take it from you.
Sun. May 6th LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES w/ LUCERO, Dirty Streets 5-10pm at The Hi-Tone, 1913 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN (901) 278-8663 $20 18+
ARTSWRAP (UK music site)- Positive posting with album art and related links.
There is a Bomb in Gilead: Review
What is undeniably brilliant about Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires on this album is how catchy their tracks are. It is a brilliant debut album which should give them some much deserved attention.
Tracks such as ‘Magic City Stomp!’ and ‘Reba’ unleash a blues genre to their music, while ‘Everything you Took’ and ‘Ain’t No Stranger’ definitely have more of a rock feel to them. What comes across in all of the tracks is their chilled out approach to music, which is not a bad thing when you are producing music as good as this.
Although in their biography Lee Bains’s voice is described as being ‘drawling, howling’ there is no evidence of the howling at all. His drawling voice is supported by drummer Blake Williamson, bass player Justin Colburn and guitar player Matt Wurtele, giving the album an almost lazy feel.
On the track ‘Roebuck Parkway’ Bains’s vocals are perfectly matched by Wurtele’s gentle guitar playing, making this one of the many highlights on this album.
In contrast to this, the album’s title track ‘There is a bomb in Gilead’, Bain’s gravelly tones brings to mind a young Rod Stewart.
While there are no tracks on the album that ruin the mood or style, it will be interesting to see where they will take their music next or whether they will stick to this formula. It feels as though at times on this recording they are holding something back, desperate to let go of held back energy which can be heard at times on certain songs.
It is the perfect album to listen to on a summer afternoon and I wait in eagerness to hear what they produce next. If the music they intend to produce keeps to this high standard then a long and successful career awaits this brilliant new discovery.
AUDITORY ARSON (Salt Lake City music blog)- Positive album review with cover art and Righteous Ragged Songs audio stream
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – There is a Bomb in Gilead
Alive Naturalsound Records / May 15, 2012
Recorded in the heart of Dixie and mixed in the motor city, the debut release from Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires burns a path through the American musical landscape on which lesser bands have become hopelessly lost. These boys are forging a sound based on garage rock guts, southern riffs and gospel flavors that was first explored by the Rolling Stones 40 years ago on Exile on Main St. The difference here is the Stones were doing an homage to the sounds they learned to love. On There is a Bomb in Gilead, with Bains on vocals, drummer Blake Williamson, bass player Justin Colburn, and guitar player Matt Wurtele…the band plays like the stuff Gram Parsons called “Cosmic American Music” is in their DNA.
There is nothing here either quite as sinister sounding or as obtuse as some of the Exile tracks, this band follows a more observant trail of lyrical hooks including the pun of the closing title track. “There is a Bomb in Gilead” plays on a Bible verse that became the Black American spiritual, “Balm in Gilead.” Bains misheard the lyrics as child and sticks with that here yet works in the meaning of both words in a clever way. Getting to that last track will take you on a journey through the deep, dirty south of today, the band even stops along the way for the “Magic City Stomp!” where they do a bit of their own homage via some very Stones-like jamming.
BLOGTO (Toronto music blog)- Positive Toronto show review as part of their larger Shakes review
Alabama Shakes recently rolled through Toronto for a sold out show at Lee’s Palace. Joining them in support was Birmingham’s The Glory Fires, who opened the night by taking the stage sheepishly, before dismantling the place with songs from their debut LP, There is a Bomb in Gilead. It was a little awkward at first, but working through songs echoing The Allman Brothers and The Band, the crowd warmed and the band relaxed.
Drummer Blake Williamson and bassist Justin Colburn put down a solid foundation and added welcome harmonies, while up front lead guitarist Matt Wurtele was Robbie Robertson 2.0 and front man/ guitarist Lee Bains III led the charge with tear-your-face-off vocal power a-la Joe Cocker.
THE DAILY TIMES (Knoxvillle, TN area daily)- Positive feature/interview to preview Knoxville show with band photo and related link
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires rise from the ashes of The Dexateens
By Steve Wildsmith
When Southern rockers The Dexateens came grinding to a halt back in 2010, Lee Bains found himself adrift.
He’d shuttered his old outfit, Arkadelphia, to play guitar for the band. He’d thrown himself into it with gusto, drawing on the group’s energy and giving it everything he had. And when it ended, he wasn’t sure what to do next.
“I loved playing with The Dexateens, and when that came to an end, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he told The Daily Times this week. “I was really just kind of lost. I’d been talking to a major label in Los Angeles about doing this recording project thing, and while that was financially promising in certain ways, creatively I didn’t feel good about it.
“So I walked away from that, and then The Dexateens petered out, and I hadn’t had my own band or played my own songs for a couple of years at that point.”
So he turned to the only outlet a musician knows for solace: songwriting. They came pouring out, and once he settled back in Birmingham, Ala., he called up his old Arkadelphia bandmate Justin Colburn, and the two started putting together a new project: Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires.
It’s an apt name for the sort of gritty, desperate rock ‘n’ roll Bains and his bandmates have created on their debut album, “There Is a Bomb in Gilead.” The title comes from a misheard gospel lyric from Bains’ childhood, and while “balm” may sound more soothing to some, “bomb” is exactly what this record is. The songs begin with the simmering hiss of a grenade fuse before exploding in ways that define what life is like in the modern South: Tough, mean and unforgiving.
That’s not to say “Bomb” is a metal album; far from it. There’s a steady-as-she-goes sensibility to the tracks that took Bains a bit to wrap his head around.
“When we first got together, our buddy Tim Kerr came from Austin to sort of encourage us, and as we were going through these songs, he kept telling us I was doing things, and that we as a band were doing things, that sounded like The Dexateens,” Bains said. “He kept asking, ‘How do YOU do it?’ And I think a lot of that had to do with focusing more on the pocket.
“With The Dexateens, we would pretty much go out and blaze through the song at warp speed. With this band, Tim was sort of saying that our power wasn’t going to come from that; it was going to come in part from the groove, from being in the pocket. And in playing together, I want it to feel good rhythmically and have that laid-back sort of behind-the-beat feel.”
The Glory Fires have already made waves around the Southeast, both for the music the band makes and for the state the guys call home. They’ve appeared with The Alabama Shakes, and like the Drive-By Truckers before them, they’re helping call attention to a region that’s often overlooked for its contributions to rock ‘n’ roll.
“I definitely look to a place for inspiration and setting,” Bains said. “In Arkadelphia, pretty much all the songs on that album were intentionally about Birmingham. I’m still drawn to doing that, and a lot of it has to do with the literature I’m into: Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Faulkner; people who very consciously dwelt in their own place.
“This is the only place I can truly understand, and it’s where I belong. I can’t speak to New York City, but I can speak to Central Alabama, and I feel like that’s definitely influenced my writing.”
IF YOU GO
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
PERFORMING WITH: Kelsey’s Woods, Jack Herranen, Dixieghost
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, April 20
WHERE: The Well, 4620 Kingston Pike, Knoxville
HOW MUCH: $5
EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE (Canadian national music monthly)- Positive Toronto show review
Alabama Shakes / Lee Bains the III & the Glory Fires
Lee’s Palace / Toronto, ON April
By Laina Dawes
It’s amazing the cultural difference between Alabama and Toronto. Not only was opener Lee Bains the III’s heavy ‘Bama drawl slightly alarming, his band Glory Fires quickly demonstrated that Toronto’s indie bands better start working on their musical chops.
Debuting tunes of their upcoming debut, There Is a Bomb in Gilead, the opening band deftly blew away probably half of the local talent that has ever graced the Lee’s Palace stage. Impossibly young to be churning out some petty intricate tunes, the technique and depth of their musical skills and knowledge was simply astounding, switching between some Southern-fried boogie, country twinge and some soul that would make Charley Pride, well, proud.
The friendly interplay between opener and headliner was also a match made in heaven. Alabama Shakes guitarist Heath Fogg and drummer Steve Johnson joined the Glory Fires for their finale, and the band later joined Alabama Shakes for “You Ain’t Alone.”
BOSTON MUSIC SPOTLIGHT
Stepping into the Spotlight with Lee Bains III
Every week we like to spotlight a rising band from outside of New England. Today, we get to know Alabama’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. You can catch the band in Massachusetts when they open for the Alabama Shakes at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Sunday, April 15. Learn more about the band, below.
Band Name: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Band Members: Lee Bains III: Vocals, Guitar (Birmingham, AL) Justin Colburn: Bass (Jasper, AL) Blake Williamson: Drums, Vocals (Birmingham, AL) Matt Wurtele: Guitar (Homewood, AL)
Albums: There Is a Bomb in Gilead (2012)
How did you form/start?
LB: I had been playing with Alabama band The Dexateens, and, as that band started slowing down considerably, wanted to start my own thing. Justin and Blake were old musical cohorts in the Birmingham area, and Matt was somebody I’d gotten to know through friends in Tuscaloosa.
Finish the sentence, someone would like your band if they like…
LB: …their family, their hometown, raising hell, swimming holes.
What song of yours should people listen to first and why?
LB: “Ain’t No Stranger” since it’s the first on the album!
Walk us through your songwriting process.
LB: Well, every song is different. A melody or lyric might come to me while I’m driving, or working, or reading. Or it might just be while playing guitar. It does help when I’m singly focused on something, not necessarily music.
Tell us a little bit about your latest album.
LB: Well, we’re proud of it. We recorded it with our friend Lynn Bridges in Water Valley, Mississippi, and worked really hard on it. We think we did a pretty good job of capturing our vibe as a band and a group of dudes. That said, we’re a fair bit louder live.
What has your most memorable moment as a band been?
LB: Dodging into a crawfish restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi to avoid a tornado.
What has been the hardest part of building your name onto the national level?
LB: Man, that’s a complicated question. To be honest, it’s all hard. Booking shows, trying to find a good label, finding work that will allow you to be away on tour, being away from family and friends, making enough money for gas, getting more than a handful of people out to shows. That said, it’s of course worth it. We all love music.
Who are the best bands from your hometown that we might not know about?
LB: Birmingham has several killer bands right now. 13ghosts, Through The Sparks, Black Willis, Dead Fingers, and more that aren’t immediately jumping to mind.
What band would you most like to open for?
LB: A reunited Replacements. Why not?
Who is your all-time favorite Boston band?
LB: Blake immediately said Aerosmith. I say The Modern Lovers.
What are your thoughts on playing Boston?
LB: Boston is honestly one of my favorite cities to visit. It strikes me as ancient, particularly coming from a part of Alabama that was very rural and sparsely settled until the late 1800′s. I’ve had a couple fun shows there with The Dexateens at T.T. The Bear’s and always look forward to going back. Probably my number-one reason for loving Boston is the original Pizzeria Regina in the North End. It is my favorite pizza of all-time, hands down.
What can people expect from your live show and why should our readers catch your next stop in Boston?
LB: Man, we play like we mean it, and have a really good time. Hope y’all will come!
THE GLOBE & MAIL (Toronto daily)- “Everything That You Took” featured in their “Five New Songs You Need To Hear” with band photo
Everything You Took
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, from the forthcoming There Is a Bomb in Gilead (Alive); streaming here
She took his Ramones T-shirt, and she took his Walker Percy book. On a grooving slice of southern rock with a tasty Muscle Shoals-soaked guitar solo, all a broken-hearted dude asks for in return is small hope and a touch of sweet mercy.
THE RED & BLACK (Athens, GA college weekly) – Positive album review
Listen Up! — ‘There Is A Bomb in Gilead’
By HILARY BUTSCHEK
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires surprise, but not in the way one might think.
It’s not the band’s style or genre or sound alone that takes the listener unexpectedly; it’s the whole package.
The band’s debut album, “There Is A Bomb in Gilead” has a genuine feel to it — it’s good Southern music made in the South.
With themes of country, rock and gospel, the album couldn’t have better represented all the deep facets of the region. It couldn’t have represented them any more truthfully, either.
This album isn’t a hoax. It isn’t trying too hard. It isn’t too much or too little. It’s just right.
Because, with a mix of many styles, “There Is A Bomb in Gilead” covers all its bases.
The songs range in tempo while mixing traditional sounds. From slow and heartfelt — like “Reba,” a brooding song revolving around melancholy love — to fast and rowdy — like “Centreville,” an upbeat and energetic song to get the crowd dancing.
Then there is also the in-between songs like “Everything You Took,” which works off roots of a simple country melody but adds the rhythm of the blues and the guitar solo of a soft rock band.
Sewn through all of these widely ranging styles is one thing in common: Bains’ voice, which sounds as if he’s been through all that he sings of and is better and wiser from it.
This is exactly what this kind of rootsy, soulful music calls for, so it’s a perfect fit.
Although the truthfulness of the lyrics of the album sometimes run up against the loud music, there is always an exception: for example, “Roebuck Parkway” highlights slow and meaningful lyrics and is nicely offset by the other people’s responsibility.
That is the sum total of the album: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires sets the truth to a little bit of fun.
MARQUEE MAGAZINE (Boulder, CO monthly) – Positive 4/5 album review.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
There Is A Bomb In Gilead
Alive Natural Sound Records
4 out of 5 stars
Lee Bains III is from central Alabama — Birmingham, to be exact — but the sound on his debut album with The Glory Fires is 110% Muscle Shoals, Ala. territory. At least it sounds that way. Despite the unfortunate fact that the album was actually recorded over the state line in Water Valley, Miss., the power, soul and vintage sound of There Is A Bomb In Gilead is indicative of recordings that have come out of Muscle Shoals Fame Studio by bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and more recently, Drive-By Truckers.
There Is a Bomb is a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular. The first 15 seconds of the album starts with a somewhat tacet guitar piece, before exploding into rock and soul for the next 38 minutes. Part of that explosion is no doubt due to the environs. Recorded in the south, but mixed in Detroit, the album straddles the Appalachian Mountains, with one foot in the Confederacy and one in the Motor City — or as the band’s label said, the album is where “Mississippi grease and Detroit grit” meet.
Each track is chock full of southern storytelling, but choruses give way to great anthematic singalongs. The track “Everything You Took” most perfectly shows the blending of styles. With a nostalgic, soulful verse, Bains sings about a failed relationship with mentions of lost Ramones t-shirts and Walker Percy books, before a blistering guitar solo gives way to a chorus as catchy as they come, with heavy background vocals and an optimistic sense of “everything is going to be okay.”
There Is A Bomb In Gilead is an awesomely solid debut, and I wish I had the chance to hear it in its native form — blasting from a Ford truck stereo rolling down Highway 72, through the South. — BFJ
WELD FOR BIRMINGHAM (Birmingham weekly) – Feature story with interview and band photo to preview local show
7 Questions with: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Chefs and musicians share a love of creation through blending. Like cooking, some of the best music comes from mixing unexpected and seemingly disparate genres. The real standouts are where you can taste each individual flavor, but only when you’re really trying, or maybe if you’re in just the right mood to notice; every subsequent experience of the same dish brings new and subtle discoveries of the parts that make up the equally delicious whole.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires’ new album “There is a Bomb in Gilead”, out in mid-May, is a masterful meal. There are a hundred influences and flavors, all immediately recognizable but mixed perfectly so that none stands out above the other. There’s early New York City punk, soul, country (both front-porch and Outlaw), blues, and, of course, rock and roll, all blended together so well that you can hear it all without noticing any of it, because the combination makes it it’s own thing.
You can (and should) catch Bains and the gang at the Nick, March 24, as they prepare to head out on the road with the Alabama Shakes, spreading the gospel of Alabama rock’n’roll across the East Coast. -km
1. The new disc kicks off with “Ain’t No Stranger”, that excellent kind rock ‘n’ roll that feels like it’s about to fall apart any second, but never does. Where does that come from, and is it ever tempting to just let it?
Thank you for the kind words and the great questions. I don’t know where it comes from. I mean, I think I do. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I get a lot of spiritual fulfillment out of playing music. Through different periods in my life, playing music with other people has been the only time I’ve really been able to experience a moment without having my mind race, and my attention wander. I do know that I’m grateful to play with three dudes that play like their lives depend on it — like they really do believe in rock’n’roll. I think there’s a sweet spot with falling apart. Live, we look for that Rahsaan Roland Kirk-style falling apart. Not the Hank Jr. at the Star Lake Ampitheatre in 1991 kind of falling apart.
2. There’s a clear and unique set of influences — from seventies soul to country folk to emaciated punk. What new music excites you, if any?
Man, I like a good number of bands right now — a lot of them here in Alabama. Doc Dailey has one of the greatest voices in music, and a weary wistfulness to his songs that will break most any heart. The Alabama Shakes are of course great. The new Dead Fingers record is really pretty, and the forthcoming Black Willis E.P. is kickass. The last two 13ghosts albums were two of my favorite in the last year; Brad Armstrong can make the ol’ eyes get misty pretty easily. My buddy Blaine Duncan is about to record an album of songs that will make many a songwriter hang their head in shame. G-Side put out a pretty damn cool record this year, too, with several songs that ought to light a fire under Outkast’s ass. Anyway, that’s just Alabama, and there’s plenty more where that came from! In the last year, I saw some great bands, from places other than Alabama, including: Jack Oblivian, River City Tanlines, Fucked Up!, Paul Collins, Hans Condor (RIP), Elf Power, Mark Eitzel, Glossary, The Bohannons, Future Virgins. There’s great music everywhere.
3. How different would the new album be if you had misheard the hymn as “There’s a *bum* in Gilead”?
It’d be a scathing indictment of Benjamin Netanyahu’s lackluster work ethic. Or a description of his posterior.
4. How did growing up in Alabama affect your approach to music and lyrics?
Man, I think in every conceivable way. I’m really grateful to have been born and raised in a single place, and to have real ties to it — both familial and personal. I can drive around Birmingham, and think, “That’s where my mama lived growing up. That’s where my granddaddy’s band used to play in the Thirties. That’s where I sat in my friend’s truck and drank our first case of beer. That’s the church where my grandmama directed the choir.” Every place, every name, every tradition and custom is so rich with meaning. When I was around 18 or 19, I really started thinking consciously about all that — what it means to be of a place. I got to that point, to where Faulkner said, “I discovered that my little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about,” and I started trying to play with that in my own feeble way. I love no place on Earth more than I do Birmingham. Because without it, in a very real way, I wouldn’t exist.
5. If you could pick one song off the new disc to be played on radio stations everywhere, which would it be and why?
After that last diatribe, I’d be remiss if I were to say anything other than “Magic City Stomp!”
6. Be honest: would you rather be touring with The Alabama Shakes, or Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Master Shake?
Since watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force makes me feel like I’m coming down off Sudafed, I’ll answer with a resounding, “Alabama Shakes!”
7. With the assumption that your live shows are at least half as energetic as your disc, should people expect to see someone burst into flames or possibly explode onstage?
We’ve got some very smart folks working around the clock to make this happen for the people.
LAGNIAPPE MAGAZINE (Mobile, AL bi-weekly alt) – Feature to preview Mobile show review.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires continue ‘dirty’ rock tradition
By Katie Nichols
Before heading out to open up for the Alabama Shakes at sold out shows across the country, Birmingham-based band Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be stopping by Blind Mule Saturday at 9 p.m.
The group is also touring in support of their debut album “There is a Bomb in Gilead,” which came about when Bains as a child misheard the old hymn “There is a balm in Gilead.”
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires tour with the Alabama Shakes, who has received national attention for their upcoming debut album “Boys & Girls,” begins April 5 in Athens, Ga. But before the Alabama Shakes ever played on “Conan” or took SXSW by storm, they were playing in the same circuit as Bains.
“We just like each other’s bands from having played together in Tuscaloosa,” Bains said about the Alabama Shakes. “The funny thing is that, several months ago, before things started going really crazy for the Shakes, I asked them if they’d want to do a co-headline tour in April, since both of our albums were supposed to come out around that time. When I asked back then, they had said that a couple members couldn’t get off work for that long, so they’d have to pass. Now, here it is, six or seven or eight months later, and we’re opening for them on a tour of much bigger venues than we could’ve ever expected.”
Fans of the Alabama Shakes can expect a kinship of sorts when they listen to the Glory Fires.
“We have both definitely come out of the Alabama rock’n’roll scene. Heath and Zac [from Alabama Shakes] were both frequenting Egan’s in Tuscaloosa before the Shakes played there, and I’d seen Zac at our Dexateens shows. There’s definitely a tradition of dirty Alabama rock’n’roll that takes pride in being from Alabama,” Bains said. “I guess I’d point to the Quadrajets, Immortal Lee County Killers, Drive-By Truckers, Model Citizen and Dexateens as being a few of those bands. In those bands and others, I see a definite sense of Southern heritage, mostly in their influences (Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul, 1970s Southern rock, Big Star and Memphis garage stuff, gospel music, classic country and blues), but also a conscious effort to question and subvert what it means to be Southern. With really loud damn guitars.”
The Glory Fires start can be traced back to 2008 when Bains returned home from college in New York. He joined up with the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa institution whose raggedy union of cock-eyed rebel pride and forward-thinking fury proved to be the perfect apprenticeship for a confused Southern boy, raised on Skynyrd and schooled in Faulkner. After playing with the band for a few years and countless shows, the Dexateens came to a reluctant end. Bains found himself off the road, back in Birmingham, without a band, and with some songs sitting somewhere between garage, classic power-pop and country-soul.
Pulling together musicians from central Alabama, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires began. The Glory Fires are drummer Blake Williamson (Black Willis, Taylor Hollingsworth, Dan Sartain), bass player Justin Colburn (Model Citizen, Arkadelphia), and guitar player Matt Wurtele.
Together they traveled to Water Valley, Miss. to record “There is a Bomb in Gilead,” and created an album that not only has a uniquely Alabama sound, but draws from soul, gospel, country, rock and much more.
The Glory Fires will be joined Saturday with the Old Tire Swings, a California-based band.
THE PERLICH POST (Toronto music blog) – Positive feature with band photo, audio streams, and related links.
Lee Bains carries Dexateens’ rock ‘n’ soul legacy
When Lee Bains III suggested the idea of an East Coast tour with his pals in the Alabama Shakes, he wasn’t thinking they’d be doing mid-sized venues – let alone selling out a Toronto show at Lee’s Palace on April 17. That’s a major change from the last time Bains was in town to tear up the Comfort Zone with the Dexateens as part of the Perlich Post’s Canadian Music Week showcase. Since then, Bains recorded an amazing album There Is A Bomb In Gilead (out May 15) with his new band Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires and Alabama Shakes have suddenly become the buzz band everyone wants to see. No doubt having their tune You Ain’t Alone used in a Zales jewelry commercial and a load of media hype helped getting the word out about the Alabama Shakes.
“We just like each other’s bands from having played together in Tuscaloosa,” explains Bains about the relationship between the two groups. “The funny thing is that, several months ago, before things started going really crazy for the Shakes, I asked them if they’d want to do a co-headline tour in April, since both of our albums were supposed to come out around that time. When I asked back then, they had said that a couple members couldn’t get off work for that long, so they’d have to pass. Now, here it is, six or seven or eight months later, and we’re opening for them on a tour of much bigger venues than we could’ve ever expected.”
As Bains elaborated, “We have both definitely come out of the Alabama rock’n'roll scene. Heath and Zac [from Alabama Shakes] were both frequenting Egan’s in Tuscaloosa before the Shakes played there, and I’d seen Zac at our Dexateens shows. There’s definitely a tradition of dirty Alabama rock’n'roll that takes pride in being from Alabama. I guess I’d point to the Quadrajets, Immortal Lee County Killers, Drive-By Truckers, Model Citizen and Dexateens as being a few of those bands. In those bands and others, I see a definite sense of Southern heritage, mostly in their influences (Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul, ’70s Southern rock, Big Star and Memphis garage stuff, gospel music, classic country and blues), but also a conscious effort to question and subvert what it means to be Southern. With really loud damn guitars.”
The title of Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires’ debut album comes from Bains mishearing an old hymn as a child. In the soft accents of his elders around Birmingham, Alabama, There is a balm in Gilead sounded a lot like “There is a bomb.” It fits, really. The Glory Fires learned to construct music in the churches of their childhoods, and learned to destroy it in the punk clubs of their youths.
As much Bobby Womack as Fugazi, as much Iggy & the Stooges as the Allman Brothers, Birmingham, Alabama’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires have brought radical rock’n’roll to bear on their own experience and their own place. On There Is A Bomb in Gilead, they deconstruct the music of the Deep South, strip it down and reassemble it, to make a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular.
In 2008, shortly after returning to Birmingham from college in New York, Lee Bains fell in with the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa institution whose raggedy union of cock-eyed rebel pride and forward-thinking fury proved to be the perfect apprenticeship for a confused Southern boy, raised on Skynyrd and schooled in Faulkner. After Bains had played with the band for a couple or three years, a couple or three hundred shows, the Dexateens came to a reluctant end. Their final album was going to be called Glory Fire.
Bains found himself off the road, back in Birmingham, without a band. He also found himself with a passel of powerful songs sitting somewhere between buzzsaw garage, classic power-pop and sweating country-soul. Casting his nets in central Alabama’s rock’n’roll clubs, Bains assembled the Glory Fires: drummer Blake Williamson (Black Willis, Taylor Hollingsworth, Dan Sartain), bass player Justin Colburn (Model Citizen, Arkadelphia), and guitar player Matt Wurtele. Chugging along with a fierce Muscle Shoals vibe, the Glory Fires brought a sense of urgency to Bains’ drawling, howling voice.
After tracking some demos under the powerful guidance of Texas punk pioneer Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13, Now Time Delegation) and a few months of shows, the Glory Fires traveled to Water Valley, Mississippi to record the tracks for their debut LP There Is a Bomb in Gilead at Dial Back Sound with engineer Lynn Bridges (Quadrajets, Jack Oblivian, Thomas Function). The songs were mixed in Detroit, at Ghetto Recorders by Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, The New Bomb Turks, Catl). It is there — in that Mississippi grease and Detroit grit — that There Is a Bomb in Gilead sits, fuse lit, ready to go.
There Is A Bomb In Gilead hits stores May 15th and will be available on CD and good old black vinyl with with lyric sheet and download card. In addition, there will also be a very limited pressing of 500 purple vinyl albums with lyric sheet and download card exclusive to mailorders through Bomp!’
BOSTON MUSIC SPOTLIGHT (Boston music site) – Best picks
Alabama Shakes at the Paradise Rock Club: They just released their debut album this week but this show was sold out long before. If you do have tickets, be sure to check out openers Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires.
PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER (Philly weekly) – Brief show review mention
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fire’s opening set was, well, true-to-form country rock. Their album, There is a Bomb in Gilead comes out next month.
DAVE FM (Atlanta radio staton) – Brief Hoboken show review as part of The Baseball Project review.
Opening for The Baseball Project at Maxwell’s was the Birmingham, Alabama rock band Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they delivered a hot set that served as an ideal opener for TBP Their bio describes their music as “As much Wilson Pickett as Fugazi, as much the Stooges as the Allman Brothers,” which is pretty apt. Yes, they play blues-influenced southern rock, but with a nice edge to it. By Dave Bruce
HELLHOUND MUSIC (online music site) – 2nd posting – News feature on tour (from press announcement) with band photo, album art and related links.
THE CORNER NEWS (Auburn, AL weeklt) – Positive Auburn show preview with band photo.
Southern band brings funky rhythm to the stage:
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be playing at Bloodhound this weekend before heading out on tour with Alabama Shakes.
By Destiny Brown
Birmingham-based band, Lee Bains III & Glory Fires, have added Auburn to its tour route to kick off its debut album, “There is a Bomb in Gilead.”
The lead singer, Lee Bains’s voice is a heart of Dixie treasure that is complimented by a funky band of talented musicians that have formed its own style of country soul.
After retiring from three years with Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa-based outlaw country band, Bains began his own circuit of playing Alabama rock ‘n’ roll venues until he found candidates for the perfect band to compliment his southern and bluesy vocals.
With a collection of original songs that ranged from classic-power pop to rural country soul, Bains formed the band in 2008 with a drive to continue his passion for the country stage.
The results for the perfect band were Justin “Catfish” Colburn, bass; Brian “Death Machine” Gosdin, drums; “Bad” Blake Williamson, drums and Matt “L.R.” Wurtele, guitar.
The bands influences range from Wilson Pickett to Lynard Skynard and credits southern staples such as catfish and T-model Fords for its southern sound.
“There is a Bomb in Gilead,” will be available May 15. The band is warming up to begin its tour with friends, Alabama Shakes.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be playing at Bloodhound at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30.