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June 17, 2008

B-Sides - MUSIC & OTHER EPHEMERA - All over but the shoutin’

The Lee Boys are a sacred steel band whose music Paradigm keyboardist Brian Healey calls “an upbeat, funky, gospel sound.”

Usually those adjectives aren’t found in the same sentence. But then again, sacred steel is atypical gospel.

The style originated when lap steel guitar was introduced at Protestant House of God worship services in the 1930s.

Paradigm kicks off its East Coast U.S. tour Friday at Headliners
Paradigm kicks off its East Coast U.S. tour Friday at Headliners

In the 1970s, pedal steel guitar came into the mix and is now part of the characteristic sound of most sacred steel bands.

On their website, The Lee Boys describe their sound as “rooted in gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations.” This music is not meant for just listening; audiences are encouraged to shout, sing and dance.

Despite its religious roots and connotations, sacred steel’s fanbase is, in a word, nondenominational. That’s why sharing a bill with Paradigm, a progressive art-rock band, isn’t entirely bizarre.

“We both share similar music interests, although the music doesn’t sound the same on the surface,” Healey said.

The show is really a send-off party for Paradigm, who leaves afterward on its summer tour with the Boston band Club Dels. Expect to hear songs from Paradigm’s current album, Melodies for Uncertain Robots, along with some new material.

“We’re just trying to ride this last album,” Healey said. The Friday night show is at Headliners Music Hall (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088). Tickets are $10. Doors at 8 p.m. 


Cassie Book is one of LEO’s five indentured servants this summer. To break the monotony, e-mail her at leo@leoweekly.com