Mother Jones Magazine review
Stephanie Lee's One Little Seed - Songs from the Psych-Political Cabaret is a genre-busting, soulful, socio-political journey. Lee's third release flows blues into sweet ballads into wickedly demented satire to a mother's lament in "Whose Boys Died." A unique voice, powerful lyrics! vigilante Muse Records.
MOTHER JONES / January 1, 2006
Demo Queen Cuts Loose
Stephanie Lee isn't afraid to say
what needs to be said
Taos News TEMPO / June 14, 2006
Click for entire review by Deonne Kahler
A Vigilante Muse
Click for complete review in The Horse Fly
Stephanie Lee's Struggle Pays Off
It doesn't seem anything will stop the music.
Click for complete review
by Brandt Legg, Taos News
Bliss is its own best reward
Stephanie Lee sparkles in
compact disc recording
Click for complete review
by Melody Romancito, Taos News
Stephanie Lee has a need
to tell a secret
Click for complete review
by Melody Elwell, Taos News
By Sarah Meadows
Here's a look at some live music scheduled to hit New
Mexico in the coming autumnal months.
The title of this Taos resident's debut album, Bliss
is the Aftermath, takes on profound meaning
the more you learn about and listen to her.
Lee learned to play the piano by sneaking into churches
across the nation as a 13-year old runaway, and that's
the type of topsy-turvy, inside-out life
she's been leading ever since.
To hear her music, though, is to understand how much
she got from that life: technically as a masterful pianist
and singer, and personally as an astute songwriter and
gifted collaborator. Lee is not one to mince words.
unapologetically a feminist, but above all, she's assertively
human. Her music blends elements of folk fragmented,
honest folk with luscious jazz and funk. She is
what Tori Amos could have been without the debilitating
MTV fame; she's a woman on a journey, who takes life's
hardships and spins them into lovely, haunting songs.
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, Free. Borders, Sanbusco
Center, 500 Montezuma Ave.
September 22-28, 1999, Santa Fe REPORTER
Bliss is its own best reward
Stephanie Lee sparkles in new compact disc recording
Review by Melody Romancito for the Taos News
The best thing about winning is often not so much the
winning, but about being right. Stephanie Lee's new
compact disc release, Bliss is the Aftermath, is a fine
example of the principle of winning, both in the gain
and in the rightness of it.
Bossy belligerent, pushy and loud all words that
guaranteed, will come up in reference to women who know
the irony of being right but not necessarily the
elation of coming home the winner.
And so, for Lee, the victory will seem doubly sweet.
The album is a wonderful piece of work not only
for her as a musician, singer and songwriter, but also
as a woman who will not be silenced. Let alone the part
about being right, all along.
Some people get respect easily, and for little effort.
Maybe it's their style, or their ability to work the
slippery beast of public opinion. But others have a
struggle on their hands
the minute they set out to do anything, let alone something
so out there as performing in public.
I interviewed Lee a decade ago about her music. The
crux of the article was about how driven Lee was to
make music. How her car door was held together with
a bungee cord,
but she had just bought a piano. In that decade, her
creative fire and the whirlwind feeding it has burned
through has yielded an effort that must be looked at
from many angles to see it for what it is. Jazzy chords
and intervals, complicated rhythm changes and an unusual
use of language have given the songs an arty feel. That's
something few will risk in this neck (or any) of the
woods. But, heck, risk is nothing new to Lee, who risks
all and wins when she weaves songs with such energy,
originality and style.
It took two years for Lee to make this album. The drive
and the perseverance to accomplish it shows in every
The title song, Bliss is the Aftermath, is a sweeping
electric piano mood piece, with sad and floating guitar
atmospherics provided by Scott Kessin.
The Colour of Losing You is a bruised and victorious
neo-torch song about lost lover and living with and
without the fact of love. Saxophone by Peter Barbeau
adds sweeping blues and other nuances. One of the lyrics
is so perfect in its communication of loss and resolve.
There is not one day
that I send without you.
White Picket Fences, and its attendant prelude, Demented
Single Mother Party, is feminist politics at its most
sarcastic and wry. Truly scary and powerfully seditious,
the piece is like a jazz and nearly spoken-word fugue.
The suite is dedicated to conservative political commentator
Rush Limbaugh and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,
with a curse and a blessing.
Other songs on the album feature darkly gorgeous cello
work by Francis Hahn, drums by Lee Steck and Jordan
MacHardy, harmony vocals by Jenny Bird, harp by Julie
Hawley, mandolin by Jimmy Stadler and party music by
Brad Hockmeyer, of KTAO-FM 101.9, has said of Lee
that when he listened to an early demo for the album,
he was not expecting such original talent, vocal virtuosity
and rich lyrical, compositions. He added that I was
very moved by the depth of her music and the sound that
was created by just
piano and voice. I can only imagine what her fully orchestrated
album will be.
We don't have to imagine any more. The project has
been completed, and Lee can rest assured, she has come
away with a winner. She can also be assured that this
proves she has what it takes. And now she has proof.
A release party for Bliss is the Aftermath is planned
today (Aug 26), 8 p.m., at Momentitos del la Vida, on
the patio. Joining Lee will be Barbeau, Bird, Melissa
Crabtree, MacHardy and Hawley. For more information,
By Molly Busby,
The Sante Fe New Mexican
I know, it's kind of like a death sentence, Taos musician
and New Goddess Productions artist Stephanie Lee said
of her self-designation as a singer-songwriter.
Yup, seems as if everybody has his own CD these days.
But Lee's two-year project Bliss is the Aftermath just
gets better with each listen.
The careful vocals and the harmonies with herself are
jazzy, bluesy and self-styled, moving in unexpected
directions at unusual intervals, lending punctuation
to pointed lyrics.
In White Picket Fences, Lee nails conservative political
rhetoric. In Mary, she questions the motives behind
institutionalized religion. And on many other cuts,
she wails out our common philosophical conundrums.
For a taste of music off the beaten path, hear Lee
and saxophonist Peter Barbeau perform cuts from Bliss
at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at Borders Books &
Music, Sanbusco Market Center, 500 Montezuma Ave.
Lee Has A Need to Tell A Secret
By Melody Elwell
Two years ago, singer/songwriter Stephanie Lee took
her income tax refund check and bought something she
had really wanted for more than 20 years.
“Practical woman that I am, I bought a piano.
Here I was, riding around in a real single mother-mobile
with a door that closed with a bungie cord and a heater
that wouldn’t work in the winter and wouldn’t
shut in the summer. I could have bought a car, but I
bought the piano instead,” Lee said.
Before, Lee used pianos in churches and was constantly
interrupted by things like choir practice.
“Its great having my own piano, I can come home
from work and practice all I want. In fact, I play it
all the time,” she said.
Lee, 33 years old and single mother of three, said
she became seriously interested in music when she was
14 years old.
“I lived for a while in a school in New Hampshire
that had a big room with a piano. It was a beautiful
piano. I was only there for six months, but it gave
me a taste of having solitude and being able to create
music in that solitude,” she said.
Lee is self-taught. She doesn’t even read music.
“I had one lesson from an old man who said, “Forget
it! Give it up. You’ll never be a musician,”
Lee said she has considered herself a songwriter more
than a performer. “That allowed me to be in the
closet with my music. Now, I’m getting over my
stage fright, and I love performing,” she said.
Lee’s music is heartfelt. She says her songs
are about what she feels concerning the experience of
living, “It’s my need to tell a secret –
to tell somebody something. They are about relationships,
politics. About living in an insane world. They are
about being human in a world that doesn’t seem
to value that very much. They are about love, too.”
Because of the instrumentation – piano and a
woman’s voice – Lee’s songs might
remind you of other songwriters like Laura Nyro and
Her songs are pensive yet joyful, sprinkled with clever
turns of phrases and quirky rhythm changes. Her vocal
style is also reminiscent of slide guitarist and bluesy
singer/songwriter Ellen Macillwain.
Lee also says some of her early musical influences
are Maurice Ravel and an obscure group called The Flock.
The group’s music centered around a jazz violinist
that had been classically trained. “It was actually
their arrangements that grabbed me. They were so interesting,”
Lee said. “But everything influenced me. I could
never say that one style of music influenced me.”
Lee said that members of her family also left musical
impressions on her. “My mother loved music. She
listened to recordings all the time. My grandfather
played Russian folk tunes on his violin for me. The
tunes were very “Old World.”
Musician In Profile
Who: Stephanie Lee
When: June 23
Where: Dori’s Bakery
Lee moved West in July of 1977, landing in Santa Fe
and living in a tent on a building site where her ex-husband
was employed. She says she didn’t care for Santa
Fee much and just three months later moved into a little
house in Pilar.
Lee says that Taos was an inspiration for her music.
One of her songs, “Waiting for Snow to Fall,”
was written when she was living just off Guadalupe Plaza.
In the music and lyrics, you can almost hear the bells
of the church.
Lee has recorded four songs. She said she plans to
record a cassette album at Moondance at the end of the
Lee can be heard June 23 at Dori’s Bakery in
the evening, and in August she plans to perform in the
Stables Courtyard during the Taos Association’s
music showcase series. She also has two dates in July
at the Taos Inn.