When: Mon., Dec. 31, 9 p.m. 2012
In the seven years between their new studio album, Testify (Evil Teen), and its predecessor, Say Yes! (Arhoolie), the Lee Boys completed their transformation from Pentecostal sacred-steel upstarts to jam-band gospel stars—these days it seems like the Miami group collaborates with the likes of Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes (who released the new album) more often than it raises church roofs. The new album makes the band’s interest in commercial rock, funk, R&B, and soul much more explicit; drummer Earl Walker lays down huge, heavy backbeats, and lots of the tunes feature a supertight brass section. The Lee Boys summon the spirits of Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire more audibly than those of their gospel forebears, but the sacred-steel tradition has long absorbed all kinds of secular styles—just a few years earlier, in fact, Robert Randolph’s band followed a very similar trajectory. Brothers Keith and Derrick Lee command center stage, trading lead vocals and harmonizing beautifully, but the most magnetic presence is pedal-steel maestro Roosevelt Collier, whose stinging, liquid tone is about as voicelike as a musical instrument can be. —Peter Margasak Leftover Salmon headlines.