and his crew received the official Los Angeles welcome before their industry-only show at the Viper Room Tuesday (January 25): the band's tour bus was hit by a L.A. city bus, twice.
"We're playing the Viper Room, which is not only cool but we have all these important people coming who don't really believe in country music because we're in L.A," Lee told The Boot after the performance. "We're thinking we can show them! It's a big day.
"I get a call an hour before the show: 'By the way, a city bus just drove by and hit our bus, knocked the mirror off. The driver cannot drive without the mirror. This bus can't move. It can't go to the venue with all of our guitars, amps, bass, drums.' I go, 'That's a different story. I'll call you back in a minute.' I get a call about five minutes later: 'The bus just got hit again; it ran over the mirror in the street. There's no fixing it. We're going to have to grab guitars and drive them over in the back of a Tahoe.'"
As they say, the show must go on, so Lee made sure that it did. "We taped the mirror up, stuck it to the side and got it working," he explains.
If the tension from the hour before the show was still in the singer/songwriter, he did a great job of releasing it upon the crowd in the form of some rockin' country music. He led with 'Sumter Country Friday Night
,' followed by 'Rednekkid,' which he dedicated to the one redneck in the room.
"This is for all the crazy a-- women; don't act like you ain't crazy," Lee told the crowd before launching into 'She Ain't Right
Next up was 'Still Over in the Morning,' which was new to even the die-hard fans in the audience. "I just wrote it," Lee explains. "My ex-girlfriend showed up on my door step. She's like, 'I'm in town and I wanted to stay, and if I do, I know it's still over in the morning.' I'm in my underwear out in the cold driveway and she's still talking, and all I can think is 'still over in the morning: awesome!' So the next morning I wrote it with Billy Montana and Jon Stone."
'Picture of Me
' came before Lee's latest single, 'Beautiful Every Time
.' "I've got really redneck friend, Rob Hatch; he talks like the movie 'Sling Blade
,'" Lee said about the inception of 'Beautiful Every Time.' "You wouldn't think he'd be sensitive or emotional or anything. He comes to me one day, 'Lee, I got a song title for us: 'Beautiful Every Time.' I'm like, ' That's weird coming from you.' He says, 'Well, I'm from Northern Florida; I'm used to beaches, I took them for granted. The other day I went down when I walked over the sand dune and that ocean hit my eyes. It took my breath from me. I thought to myself, this is beautiful every time.' So we sit down to write it and after about two hours we hadn't found the story yet, so I asked, 'What's wrong with the story you told me?' And that's what we wrote with the help of Lance Miller."
Next, Lee went into a tune that some may not have known he penned ... and sings. "This is a song that's special to me," he said to the crowd. "I wrote this about my sweetheart, well she used to be. I wrote a lot of songs about her, but this one is the one that got me over her." And with that he went into 'More Than a Memory'
-- the record-breaking hit Lee wrote for Garth Brooks
Lee ended the show with Billboard
's most-heard song of 2010, 'Love Like Crazy,' followed by 'Four on the Floor.'
Lee's headed out on the road with Jerrod Niemann
this spring for the Higher Education tour. The 12-city trek kicks off March 10 in Columbia, Mo. Read details of their trek here
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