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Buttons Are There for Pushing[CD]
Here's the debut CD from central Virginia's Lee Harris 3. A year in the making, it grabs songs from all sides of the band's extensive songbook. There's short pop gems like 'Poor Me,' and 'Good in This World;' brooding fire-breathers like 'The Richmond Waltz,' and 'I Don't Believe in Goodbye;' and some quiet moments with 'The Top of the World,' and 'Remember Me.' Lee Harris sings, plays piano & guitar, and is the band's main songwriter. Monty Jones plays drums, chips in on songwriting duties, and helps arrange the songs. (If Monty doesn't like something musically, it ain't gonna happen). Corey Hammond thumps the bass, sings harmonies, and is in charge of mediating disputes between Lee & Monty. He also comes up with all the great harmony vocal work. The band was born while Lee & Monty were playing bass & drums respectively in Richmond's alt-country darlings 'Meanflower.' 'Meanflower' itself was an offshoot of an ambitious scheme to get a collective of Richmond musicians into the CMJ festival a few years ago. The idea was to get friends together who wrote and played, make up a bunch of different bands, and submit them all to the CMJ. That's how Lee & Monty ended up being in fake bands called 'Game Show' (power pop punk), 'Dozier,' (a sort-of Bitchin' Animal bass and drums thing), 'The Lee Harris Combo' (Memphis-style instrumental R & B), 'The Dusters' (alt-country--and the appearance of what would become the first 'Meanflower' songs), and the original 'Lee Harris 3' material, which was recorded as 'The Red Ball Jets.' The plan was a resounding failure-none of the above fake bands, nor any of Lee & Monty's solo efforts made the cut. Lee expirimented with new wave (The Accessories), Funk (The Sassy Astronauts), truckin' music (Citizen's Band), Musicals (The Lee Harris Show Choir), & Indie Rock (The Cartwheels). Monty dabbled in Surf (Surf Like Rednecks), Goth (Sunomi), Exotica (Ukulele Hipster Kings), Lounge (The High Balls), & Indie (Quick Like Bunnies). They clogged up MP3.com with these fake bands and played a show here & there as 'Racket.' 'The Ukulele Hipster Kings,' 'Citizens Band' & 'The Lee Harris Show Choir' even took it to the stage. Dave McCormack decided to record an entire CD as 'Meanflower' in Monty's attic, Lee was drafted to play bass for a live show to promote the CD, and somehow the thing got reviewed in the paper & Meanflower got a record deal. Monty & Lee tagged along for awhile playing drums & bass in the band, then decided to get serious with their own music and invited Corey Hammond to join them to flesh out the enormous song catalogue they'd created into a live act. 'The Lee Harris 3' then started playing gigs on the east coast for a year, and felt it was time to head into the studio to make a serious record. 'the Buttons are There for Pushing' is the culmination of all this madness, presenting for the first time a sampling of the band's varied material. Some of these songs began as 'fake band' songs, some were written by Lee along the way, and some were written after they started recording the record. Did I mention that Corey has 2 bands of his own? The CD was recorded at Wide Open Sound (formerly Montana Studios) in Richmond by Kieran Wagner. Kieran has worked at Criterion in Miami & The Power Station in NYC-one look at his credits on allmusic.com will tell you he's had loads of experience and offers top-notch facilities and professional sound. Some of the tracks were also recorded at Macon Multimedia (Lee's home studio in beautiful Powhatan, Virginia). Everything was mixed at Macon Multimedia, and was mastered at Slipped Disc by Bill McElroy in Ashland, Virginia.
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