Milwaukee's John Sieger joins Phil Lee for a whirlwind tour of dates in the U.K. and Belgium from Feb. 26 through March 2, with a BBC radio session scheduled for Liverpool.
Both artists have new CDs on the horizon -- Sieger's "The Shaming Of The True" is ready and Lee's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You" is nearing completion.
While Lee has played previous U.K., dates this trip is the first for Sieger, a self-admitted Anglophile since being bit by the British Invasion.
Recording initial tracks in Nashville and finishing up at his own Room w/a VU studios, Sieger's new disc includes musical collaborations with Lee, Rosie Flores, (his brother) Mike Sieger and his son Sam Sieger, Frogwater. The disc includes a handful of co-writes with longtime compadre Michael Feldman.
In contrast to the Semi-Twang album he recorded for Warner Bros. in 1988, Sieger says the difference is, "day and night. I could make 20 more at home for what that one cost. The bloat and excess of that probably cost me a real career in music, how do you pay off a quarter of a million? On the plus side, working at home allowed me to be very labor intensive, but I had to do without the talents of James Burton. You'll notice that my guitar licks fall a little short of his. I did get some good trumpet out of Phil, though."
The back-story for Lee's CD is straight out of Ripley's. In the early '80s Peter Barbour was living in the Hollywood Hills working in the movie industry. Barbour was introduced to Lee by a mutual friend who worked for Neil Young (one of Lee's later gigs was driving for Young). Lee crashed on Barbour's couch for several months and wrote tunes during his stay.
By 2004. Barbour was living in the Hill Country outside of Austin, Texas and had been out of touch with Lee for two decades. While driving he heard a song on the radio he recognized from 25 years previous -- Lee wrote it while staying in at Barbour's place in California.
The radio signal was fading so Barbour pulled over to hear the DJ announce it was indeed Lee. It was the only time he ever heard Lee played on the radio. Barbour subsequently contacted Lee and formed the partnership to produce So Long, It's Been Good to Know You.
Once they get over the jet-lag, Sieger and Lee perform in Milwaukee as part of the Rock the Loft series at photographer Deone Jahnke's studio.