AngeschautHere, there and everywhere: singer-songwriter Terry Lee Hale’s seen them all. An Army brat, he was born in Texas and inspired to pick up the guitar by hearing an old Billy Haley 78 he found in a bedroom closet and seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Terry Lee went to 10 different schools and learned young to travel easily. Graduating high school in Yakima, Washington and carrying an old Stella guitar, it was San Francisco and then across the country to Maine, living and learning. Time and the interstates carried him around the country until 1984 brought him, now with a 7-year-old daughter, 2 suitcases and a new Froggy Bottom guitar back to the Pacific Northwest and Seattle.
“Being a single parent was huge in shaping my life,” he explains. “It certainly delayed any touring and plenty of other things as well. No complaints though. You roll up your sleeeves and do what you have to do.”
Instead he began opening for local rock bands, acts like Soundgarden, Skin Yard, Screaming Trees and the Walkabouts and booking bands at venues around the city. For several years Terry Lee was a solo fixture on the Seattle scene, playing the clubs and bars around town with his strange open guitar tunings and his dark, dangerous songs. Seattle was changing. From being a backwater, it was suddenly America’s most liveable city, and the underground music scene that had raged around town was beginning to break out nationally. Seattle had been his home longer than anywhere else, but musically he still didn’t fit in. In a place supposedly free and easy, but where the musical lines were sharply etched, he remained the consummate outsider.
He never managed to connect with an American label except for one song on the seminal Sup Pop 200compilation – the only singer-songwriter there.
But late one night in 1993 there was a phone call from Germany asking if he’d be interested in having his cassette "Oh What A World" released on Normal Records as a CD/LP in Europe. His days as a booking agent/bartender in Seattle were just about over, his daughter Liza Lee was now living with her Mom in Denver and the times were indeed changing.
In 1993 he toured the continent the first time opening shows for the Walkabouts. He made friends easily in Brittany and within a few years was spending more time there than in the U.S. It was literally life changing. Years of creativity followed. A series of records were released Europe wide(on Glitterhouse, Blue Rose, Borderdreams, and in 2011 one self-release) and along with constant touring, both as a solo act and with various bands, TLH was finally able to support himself as a full time musician.
“Coming to Europe I’ve been able to shift from clubs to concerts and a more substantial level of respect. That’s a huge change in status.”
And now in 2013, Terry Lee Hale is back after a three-year break from recording. The Long Draw, released by Glitterhouse Records, is his most accomplished set in a long career. Recorded in a studio in Brittany, with a core band of Frantxoa Erreçarret on drums and Nicolas Chelly on bass– a pair of French Basque musicians who’d toured with Terry Lee before- and produced by Bob Coke (Black Crowes, Ben Harper) The Long Draw is a masterful album of American songwriting.
“There’s more the feel of a travelogue to this record, a collection of short stories even. I've always been a vagabond, always traveling. These new songs tell some of the stories of those miles. Like pins on a map.”
It’s a disc that captures past, present and future. Here, there and everywhere. The epitome of Terry Lee Hale.