To coincide with his latest single release ‘Forever’ taken from his eagerly awaited album ‘Sentimental Fool’ released in October, legendary Soul singer Lee Fields, along with special guests James Hunter & Jalen Ngonda, have announced a Manchester show taking place at Gorilla on Saturday 28th January 2023.
Soul music pours out of Lee Fields, as free and unstinting as God’s love. It has ever since the 1960s, when he was a teenager in North Carolina sweating it out on juke joint stages, crumpled dollars hailing at his feet. It continues now that the living legend is in his late sixties, ushering in the most successful and fruitful period of his career.
Lee Fields @ Gorilla
Saturday 28th January, 6.30pm
Tickets – £25
Like any living legend worth their salt, Fields has suffered despair, obscurity, defeat. Although he now tours stages around the world, and although he helped fellow soul legends like Sharon Jones (who was once Fields’ backup singer) and Charles Bradley (whom Fields took on his first tour) get their first break, he did not always have this position.
There were years — they were known as “the 1980s” — when Fields nearly gave up. His success these days, then has a bittersweet tinge: His dear friends Bradley and Jones have both passed, leaving Fields to outlive them and carry their legacy forth.
With all these years, and all this life, comes a sort of divine wisdom, and Fields has it in spades. “I am a sinner, just like everybody else,” he says gravely. He is no “holier-than-thou guy,” he adds. He just believes in people’s ability to love and be loved, and he understands that music is the divine bridge to these places. “We should be conscious at all times of what is good and what is bad,” he tells me. “Once we lose that consciousness, we are deceived, we are tricked.” This worldview, equally stern and loving, rocksteady and welcoming, finds its fullest expression yet on It Rains Love, his latest and possibly his most earnest record ever.
Today, he stands at the forefront of the soul revival, a bustling and ever-growing corner that has nourished the nutrient-starved waters of 21st century pop music with virtues it lacks: a sense of timelessness, of eternity, of a tradition extending backward into generations.
Lee Fields music has been chopped up and sampled by hip hop artists as diverse as J. Cole and Travis Scott: Cole, Fields laughs, thought that the sample was taken from a song “from back in the day.” It wasn’t, in the strictest sense — Cole sampled “My World Is Empty Without You” and “Ladies,” which were both from Fields’ album My World, made in 2009 — in a deeper sense, it was true. Fields’ music doesn’t belong to Now; it belongs to eternity.
He has been testifying, in the purest sense of the word, since Otis Redding was alive. He is living history.