January 18, 2015

Concert #736 - Albert Lee at McCabe's Guitar Shop (January 17, 2015)

At McCabe's, performers take the stage by coming down on a fairly steep flight of wooden stairs. I have seen many artists negotiating the stairs with extreme caution and insecurity, but last night, in his seventy-first year of existence, Albert Lee bounced down the stairs without even looking at the handrail. He then proceeded to deliver an exceptionally good set that once again defied his years - his youthful voice sounded as good as ever, while his fingers worked with high speed and precision, just like decades ago.

Albert Lee at McCabe's
This was my third time to see Albert in a headlining role. While the first two shows had virtually identical set lists, last night's outing came with a few welcome changes. Picking a highlight is no easy feat, but I would mention "Runaway Train", "Luxury Liner" and "Spellbound" as some of the evening's best. Needless to say, I also loved "Country Boy", "Tear It Up" and all his other high-tempo numbers.

Albert has always been very good at crediting the composers and original interpreters of the songs on his set list - names such as Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, Don & Phil Everly, Johnny Burnette, John Stewart and Rodney Crowell were once again mentioned last night. The evening's two-song encore also included an outstanding Glen Campbell song, "A Better Place", from Glen's most recent and, sadly, final album. 

The set list
Indeed, Albert is a very special musician, but his show just wouldn't be the same without his outstanding band. Consisting of J.T. Thomas (keyboards, accordion), Will McGregor (bass guitar) and Jason Smith (drums), Albert's band provided quality support and drew repeated rounds of applause from the sellout crowd. From my seat, I had an unobstructed view of Jason's face and hands and that allowed me to focus quite often on his drumming. He is definitely one of the best drummers I have seen at McCabe's in my twenty-five years of attending concerts there.

Will McGregor (left), JT Thomas & Jason Smith leaving the stage
All-in-all, I had a great time and went home a satisfied customer. I will definitely be back to catch Albert again. Hopefully with the same band.

Albert Lee at McCabe's
The stage
Albert Lee's guitar
Concert poster
Sign in the window at McCabe's


  1. Thank you so much for another great review! Hope you don't mind me linking it to my own blog for us European Albert fans - of course mentioning the source.

    1. Hi Gudrun, please feel free to link to my blog anytime and as many times as you wish. Best wishes from Southern California!