When the name Lee Aaron comes up, images of the video for Metal Queen come up, but that song is probably the worst description of this amazing Canadian hard rock icon. Her latest album Elevate is her fifth since 2016, and it’s a slammin’ collection of rock magic and aptly named because her new sound has elevated in each of her last three albums.
Coming across more like Led Zeppelin rather than anything metal, Lee has found a unique sound that works for her voice and still gives her the attitude of a rock and roll trouble maker. Her voice is more of a storyteller now, rather than the operatic vocals of the metal screamers, so her new songs have more depth and style than they’ve ever had. She’s been developing this sound and style since at least 2018’s Diamond Baby Blues and it gives her a current sound and a modern vibe.
There have already been two very visual music videos released from this album – lead track Rock Bottom Revolution and Trouble Maker – directed by Sarnia’s Frank Gryner (known for his work with Def Leppard and Alice Cooper). The videos are fun, colourful and come in the same style that made all the Def Leppard videos from 2015-18 so exciting to watch. The band bouncing on the screen to the bass drums of Rock Bottom Revolution is worth the watch just for that effect alone.
Her band members are about as hot as they get. She has drummer John Cody, who brings a big blues heritage to her sound for the last 17 years. His big sound escalates these songs into the Led Zep world, especially Still Alive, which has that Kashmir groove. Bassist Dave Reimer, who brings a strong classic rock history, having worked with Randy Bachman and Bryan Adams, gives a good bottom end to the songs and shines in the pounding bass of Spitfire Woman. The band is rounded out with the newest member of the band, Sean Kelly, who may very well be the best Canadian rock guitarist now that Alex Lifeson is sort of semi-retired. His solid playing on this and the Radio On album has his guitars blasting throughout and makes it obvious why artists like Nelly Furtado, Helix and Gilby Clarke from Guns N Roses call him up when they record or tour. His sound is more rock radio friendly than Lee’s Metal Queen era partner John Albani, who was a bit more of a metal shredder. The solo in Rock Bottom Revolution is epic.
Lee’s voice is still strong and every now and then there are little bursts of the woman who sang Whatcha Do to My Body and Some Girls Do in the mix, but much of that more metallic sound and era wouldn’t fit in with this lovely style she’s developed. Live in concert, her entire catalog makes for a good variety of sounds and an incredible history of Lee’s metal, glam rock and hard rock days.
Right now, Lee Aaron is a Canadian artist to watch. She shouldn’t be dismissed. As a 60-year old hard rocker, Lee can grind it with the big boys and still keep her classic fans entertained. Elevate is worthy album to end 2022 and for those so inclined, a recent limited edition signed red vinyl version has just become available.
For more, check out www.leeaaron.com.