Grammy Award winning Albert Lee joins Back to the Garden at Dinner & a Concert

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Facebook is many things. But Facebook ditched all the algorithms in this instance and provided the best use ever. A way for Back to the Garden member Jim Soldi to Facebook messenger an invitation to Grammy award winning guitar legend Albert Lee asking him to perform at El Cajon’s Dinner & A Concert series. Lee’s lucky fans, and fans of the band Back to the Garden who also performed with him, got to enjoy a concert on Aug. 26 at the Prescott Promenade.

Facebook is many things. But Facebook ditched all the algorithms in this instance and provided the best use ever. A way for Back to the Garden member Jim Soldi to Facebook messenger an invitation to Grammy award winning guitar legend Albert Lee asking him to perform at El Cajon’s Dinner & A Concert series. Lee’s lucky fans, and fans of the band Back to the Garden who also performed with him, got to enjoy a concert on Aug. 26 at the Prescott Promenade.

Jim Soldi, a rock solid guitarist who has a long list of performers he has backed such as Johnny Cash, has been friends with Albert Lee since the 1970’s.

Cathy Lee Zeman, C.F.O. of the Downtown El Cajon Business Partners that produces these shows, estimated the attendance at around 3,000. Zeman said, “This year’s Back to the Garden show was a tribute to Southern Rock.” The Dinner & A Concert series runs from May until September.

 “Do you know how blessed we are to have these musicians on stage? I’m in the presence of guitar greatness,” said La Mesa resident Ed Gerber.

“I taught myself,” said what might be the most legendary autodidactic guitarist around, Lee himself. The two-time Grammy winner was thankful the crowd was patient when he was delayed in traffic driving down from the Los Angeles area. Lee also noted the Back to the Garden band he performed with was “note perfect.”

What does a guitar legend listen to on his I-pod? “I listen to a bit of everything,” said Lee. He also named Americana, classical, and Irish traditional among his favorites.

Local musician of gypsy swing jazz, Steven J. Nichols, said “Lee has played with everyone on the planet.” Eric Clapton and the Everly Brothers are just a few of Lee’s long list of collaborators. Tonight’s collaborators were Jim Soldi, Marc Twang Intraia, Larry Grano, Sharon Whyte, and Rick Nash.

Soldi noted that Lee was the force behind putting the “chicken pickin” guitar sound into country music.  A notable event for Lee an England born man. 

“Everybody from any band in town is here tonight. Anyone who is not playing,” said Zeman.

Another musician in attendance, Beat Farmers band member Chris “Sully” Sullivan, said about the performers at this event “Everyone is an “A” player.” 

Their sets tonight included songs “I’m Ready,” “Setting Me Up,” “Restless,” “Evangelina,” “Luxury Liner,” “Runaway Train,” “Ollie Vee,” “Tearstained Letter,” “Spellbound,” “Song for the Life,” “Leave my Woman Alone,” “Highwayman,” “Gain control,” “Country boy,” and finished up with an encore of “Tear it Up.”

Lee’s song, “Country Boy,” helped to redefine country music for a whole generation of players.

Zeman noted that many of the concertgoers came dressed in “hippie-dippie” clothes. The concertgoers were on their feet dancing and crowding towards the stage as soon as Lee hit the stage. Cell phones were out in droves getting a shot of Lee while he was singing and chicken pickin his guitar.

Zeman also highlighted the El Cajon Downtown Business Partners are bringing Marty Stuart to perform on Oct. 2. For further information on activities visit: www.downtownelcjaon.com. 

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