Already riding high on my list of 2023 favorites, this week finally sees the release of Bobby Lee’s third record, Endless Skyways. The record returns Lee to the thrum n’ thrall of the full band, shaking off the back porch boogie of 2021’s Origin Myths for an outing that springboards off of the deep denim juggernaut that was Shakedown in Slabtown. Joining a cadre of like minded souls bridging the Cosmic American causeway with a Teutonic tenacity, Lee’s visions of percolated prog country fit tight with Spencer Cullum’s “Dieterich Buxtehude” or Stephen Bailey’s “Bar Kraut.” Collect ‘em all and collate as you please to complete the essential motorik mountainside mix. Meanwhile, the choogle gets chuggin’ right off the jump, gathering dark clouds on his first single, the scorched-earth rumble of “Reds For a Blue Planet,” but it’s a revamped version of “Impregnated By Drops of Rainbow” that truly sets the stable for Skyways. The song first appeared on Origin Myths in a much more rudimentary fashion, but with the full band grinding along behind him, and pedal steel from Joe Harvey-Whyte, the song gives a good idea of Bobby’s burn under the stage lights.
The mid-section pulls from the pastoral portions of Popul Vuh, going full “Morgengruss II” before letting the twang ramble free on the cheeky ISB nod, “The HR Manager’s Beautiful Daughter.” The song’s a lighter-side highlight of the record, finding the balance between the countyKraut cookers and the encroaching air of ambient Americana. That heaviness returns, though, as we slide into the second half. “Acid Grasslands” returns to the narcotic nod, adding a scorch mark of blues that’s only really been hinted at in Bobby’s past works. The record feels like the most complete version of what Lee’s been whittling away at over the past few years. The band knit their sound together in sonorous symbiosis, sending vibrations rattling from the mountains to the mycelium. It’s a true 2023 essential!
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.