MP3 Lee Rude - Here It Comes
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"I've heard the future of pop-rock - and its name is Lee Rude" - Chris Thelen, The Daily Vault
"Lee's songs are acts of friendship." - Literary scholar Christopher Ricks
12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, FOLK: Folk Pop
The Daily Vault
November 20, 2000
By Christopher Thelen
I think I've heard the future of pop rock - and its name is Lee Rude.
Normally, you'd think I wouldn't jump at the chance to review a band with such a name - the context brings back memories of the time I mistakenly gave The Jerky Boys a chance. (Hoo boy, now there's the kind of mistake that follows you around like gum on your shoe.) But make no similar mistake with this group; singer/songwriter Lee Zukor and crew are serious about their craft, and their disc Here It Comes shows off the skills and maturity normally heard only on a major-label release, not on an independent disc.
Zukor proves himself to be an astute observer of modern life, love and loss throughout the course of these 12 songs. Even by taking a tongue-in-cheek look at his own job on "Song Of Nothing New," Zukor and his bandmates prove that wonderful thngs can even come out of nothing or uncertainty. This particular track is less of a complaint about the state of pop rock, but more of a whimsical slap at songwriting wanna-bes who do nothing but complain about the state of music while doing nothing themselves to change it. (And, no, I'm not indicting rock music critics like myself, nor do I think Zukor is doing this.)
There is much talk of love throughout Here It Comes, though it's not always of a romantic love that is verbalized. Take "Highway 65," for example. Anyone who has watched a loved one slowly waste away before their eyes will undoubtedly find this song hard to bear, as the narrator remembers someone they once knew and wishes they could replace the past: "You no longer stand and barely move your hands / Less stubborn men would never last so long / My throat is dry from all the stupid things I said / I never know what to say in times like these". Ka-pow.
Yet there are plenty of lighter moments of love throughout Here It Comes, from the promise of support even in times of trouble ("Count On Me"), the reassurances of what makes a person special to another ("That's Why," a duet with Lori Wray) and even the fear of loving someone too much ("Fearless"), Zukor and his bandmates are able to put into words what many people have trouble verbalizing - and that's no small gift.
Yet there are moments of loss scattered throughout this disc, from the hells brought on by one's own personal demons ("Unlucky") to the realization that one you love is better without you in their life ("5 AM"). A roller-coaster of emotions? Perhaps - but Lee Rude is the kind of band that can pull off these switches effortlessly, and make them sound like they were intentional all along.
Here It Comes is not the kind of disc you'd normally search for in the bins of Best Buy - but once you've heard this disc even once, you'll wonder how you ever lived without the beautiful music held within. Whoever would think that something with the surname of "rude" would be so pleasant? Lee Rude is a band that demands to be heard. All you have to do is open the door - and I'm hoping someone opens the right door for these guys... now.
The Alt Country Page - 4 star review
November 13, 2000
Lee Zukor has released his second full-length album entitled "Here It Comes." One thing is clear from the opening track: this is a very well-produced and well-crafted album, one that is both immediately likable and lyrically challenging enough to hold your interest on repeated plays.
"Song of Nothing New" sets the tone for the disc. There's some clever writing coupled with a catchy chorus, which is pretty much the theme throughout. Clichés and catch phrases are sometimes turned around, as on the best track, "Fearless," which laments: "every silver lining has a cloud surrounding it." It's easy to hear and understand the words on first listen, but they always make you re-think the intended meaning.
Many of the songs are about relationships, either the ones that have gone terribly wrong ("Unlucky" is about a man who drinks himself out of a relationship), challenge us ("Highway 65" is about the contradictions of being an agnostic when real suffering occurs) or just the simplicity of love and marriage ("Count on Me"). All of the lyrics are loosely inspired by songwriters like Lou Reed (especially during his Velvet Underground era), John Wesley Harding, and Joe Jackson.
Musically, the album features some first-rate singing and guitar by Zukor, who also produced. There's a Minneapolis sound to these songs, sometimes having a bit in common with a band like The Honeydogs, especially on the guitar solos. There's nothing really alt-country here, but the honesty in the lyrics might appeal to an alt-country crowd.
Pulse of the Twin Cities
By Tom Hallett
On the sleeve notes for his seminal Bringing it All Back Home album, Minnesota son Bob Dylan said, "Responsibility, security, success mean absolutely nothing . . . I would not want to be Bach, Mozart, Tolstoy, Joe Hill, Gertrude Stein or James Dean. They are all dead. The Great books've been written. The Great sayings have all been said." Well, that was over three decades ago, and though Dylan's sentiments were apropos for his age and the times, the fact remains that he kept on makin' records. And while some may not have said much that was new, quite a few of 'em sure as hell said it well. Minneapolis singer/guitarist Lee Zukor (aka Lee Rude, a take on Lou Reed) seems to be going through the same soul-struggle on his 2000 album, Here It Comes. The record kicks off with the countrified "Song of Nothing New," ("...I'm trying to impress you with a few thoughts of my own/ But nothing is original I fear/ I guess that makes me kind of dull and not so very smart/ All I write is my take on the things you always hear/ So I can't write a song about love or death, religion, God, or war/ Burglaries, cable TV's, or drugs or corner stores . . . it's all been done before." Zukor's voice conjures shades of James McMurtry or Todd Snider, and his slightly skewed, black sense of humor matches that of those artists as well. He doesn't give up completely, though-over ringing banjo, lap steel guitar, and bouncy snare, he declares, "I will keep on singing my song of nothing new . . . ," and "Without You" takes those same snare cracks times two and morphs the band (Zukor-guitars, vocals, Volney Hendrix-bass, David J. Russ-drums, and Tom Bard on keys and accordion) into an upbeat pop quartet, though the message isn't much brighter: ". . . How could you leave? . . . I've never been too good with women . . . "
"Here It Comes" shows why he mighta scared a few off, as he opens with: "If love is blind before it loves is true/ I hope that I don't fall in love with you/ 'Cause I can't see a thing except a diamond ring/ So what if we have yet to speak/ I cannot stand another week." Yeesh. Down, boy! Heart-on-your-sleeve can be cute, but not when it's still moist and dripping. His romantic foibles aside, Zukor has a strong voice and the band drives his songs with power and passion. His ability to keep his wit and humor about him through the makestorms life throws his way is ultimately his (and his songs') redemption. "Unlucky" finds him poking fun at guys who lie to their wives: "I was not out drinking/ I only had four/ The guys I was with they all had much more . . . ," then trying to appeal to her soft side: "You'd forgive me if you loved me/ I'm not a drunk, I'm just a man." "5 a.m.," the album's strongest cut, pumps out a honk backbeat over a road-dawg's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"-inspired last goodbye: "One day I hope you'll understand, why I cannot be your man/ I'm bound to disappoint, I can't hide what I am/ You lie so perfectly asleep, and I am flawed beyond belief . . . " The final kiss-off, a blast of Dylan-esque harp, and he's gone. All in all, an impressive batch of tunes for a newcomer, and some mighty fine musicianship. Though he may have hit the mark when admitting that he sings a "Song of Nothing New," Zukor's got a unique voice, his own wink-an-a-nod style, and the inspiration of 30 years worth of Dylan albums since Bringing it All Back Home to tide him over. Check it out.
By Dennis Scanland
Lee Rude (aka Lee Zukor) is an honest musician. He sings about everyday happenings and everyday people and experiences. Nothing outstanding here. Wait a sec though, I think it's about time someone started writing about down to earth subjects. Lee used to front a band called Charlie Bucket but realizing his potential he has decided to take it upon himself and do a solo album. Here It Comes is a bit of a hard album to pinpoint as the diversity is quite outstanding for a self done independent release. The strange thing about it is that there really isn't a gimmick on the album. It's just good catchy, rootsy rock that sticks in your head long after listening. The package has been done very professional as well complete with the heartfelt lyrics. Give this talented musician a chance and preview some of his stuff at https://www.tradebit.com
Try if you like - Freedy Johnston, Old 97's, Todd Snider
By James Baumann
Lee Rude - basically guitarist and singer Lee Zukor - takes its name by juggling vowels around Lou Reed, and takes its sound from a variety of other places. With nimble finger-picking and witty, topical lyrics the first song, "Song of Nothing New," could have come right out of the Todd Snider catalog. Many other songs have a similar tinge, with slide guitar fills and train-rolling drums. It's country-rock that is more successful the less seriously it takes itself.
January 1, 2001
Lee Zukor is not rude. He is Lee Rude, alongside Volney Hendrix (bass), David J. Russ (percussion) and Tom Bard (keyboards). He used to be Minneapolis' Charlie Bucket, but traded in his old persona to pursue leadership of what sounds like Spirit of the Mid-West. "Song of Nothing New" is a strong opening track and the title cut has a playful jangle to it, but the jarring backbeat sometimes gets in the way. "5 AM" is the most effective slice of life, and "Count on Me" is the roughest selection, and appears a little out of place on the program. Is it folk? Is it pop? It's plain, honest lyrics delivered as poor man's Freedy Johnson.
Freight Train Boogie
December 14, 2000
By Bill Frater
"Song Of Nothing New" kicks it off this Twin Cities singer's CD with a commentary on the fact that there's nothing original these days. Then he goes on to show just how original and clever he is. His song subjects feature everyday items like cell phones and driving and love, but always with a witty twist. This is a CD of pop music with well-arranged acoustic and roots arrangements. He really has a way with words, I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't an Elvis Costello fan. What I really love is the guy's real name is Lee Zukor but a friend gave him the name Lee Rude as a funny takeoff on Lou Reed.
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