Diary of a Never Was

Thoughts on flying under the radar …

The “H” word


It’s been a while since I’ve scribbled down one of these blogs, but I guess it’s about time. I’ve got a lot on my mind.

You see, when we play the Tim Lee 3 record release show for Tin, Man on October 28, that will be it for the foreseeable future.

Yep, we’re instituting the “H” word: HIATUS.

It’s hard to believe that, after ten years of recording and gigs, there will be no more TL3 shows to play. There are several reasons for this, but we need to stress that they are all external forces, none internal. Susan, Chris, and I are all on the same wavelength, personally and musically, so that’s not an issue at all. It’s still fun, and we’re still growing as a trio.

We’re not “breaking up” the band. We’re not putting the band out to pasture. We’re good Southerners so we’re just putting it up on cinder blocks in the front yard until it’s time to put on some new tires and take it for another spin.

We’ve had a great run over the past decade, releasing five full-length studio records (including Tin, Man which we are truly proud of), two live records, an EP, various side projects, and contributions to compilations while maintaining a busy gigging schedule. It’s been a damn good time, almost every minute of it. Chris has been on board for five of those years and has been a great musical ally, good friend, and stabilizing influence on the band (it’s been a while since anyone’s been able to trot out the Spinal Tap/TL3 drummer joke).

Moving into the future, Susan and I will concentrate on Bark, our two-piece side project that’s taken on a life of its own, while also dealing with a non-life-threatening health issue. Chris will stay busy with the Knox County Jug Stompers and his various other endeavors. The three of us will remain open to ideas of cool shows or studio collaborations. Nobody’s going away or even slowing down much, just shifting focus.

timlee3_tinmanWe do hope to see as many of our friends as possible at the Pilot Light on October 28, when we close out this chapter with the record release show for Tin, Man. It’s gonna be a big night of fun and music. Nashville guitarist-singer-songwriter Brandy Zdan will kick things off with her band at 7pm sharp. Our longtime friend and collaborator Kevin Abernathy and his combo will follow at 8, with the TL3 taking over at 9. Our pals in Caps will close out the evening.

So we’re moving from one phase into another on a high note.

Tin, Man is available from the MERCH TABLE here on our web site, and will be available locally in Knoxville on October 28.

We thank you for your support, however large or small, over the years. We hope you’ve had as much fun as we have.

— TL

p.s. If you’ve noticed all the names in our website and Facebook banners, here’s the deal: from 2006 to 2016, those are all the people who have joined us on stage and/or in the studio as a band member, guest, or someone we’ve backed. That’s 80+ people in 10 years and we appreciate every single one of ’em.


April 9, 2016

“Guetts wants to know if they can borrow our bass amp.”

Susan posed that question in the middle of a crowded Pilot Light in Knoxville’s Old City. It was barely five in the afternoon, and a lot of folks were already filling the joint, nodding their heads up and down in front of the stage, standing in the back to get a more full view, leaning on the bar, or coming and going through the front door to smoke.

“Sure, of course,” I replied.

It was the third annual Big Asses Fest, and by that time several acts had already played. Bark was still three bands away, but things were on schedule, everybody was having a good time, and the vibe was great. Last-minute negotiations ensued between bands to share gear and make the changeovers simpler. Zach from the Sweet Years was letting Susan use his drum kit, and Niles from the Crumbsnatchers was going to use one of our amps, thanks to Guettts’ request.

As Mare Vita was doing their thing, i took it all in. This was my world. A bunch of cool bands working together to make it all happen. No goals other than to get on the stage and do it up.


Down Time / Up Time

Temporary setup at Top Hat Knoxville while the studio/house is being built.

Temporary setup at Top Hat Knoxville while the studio/house is being built.

As the last note of the song trailed off, Jon Dee slipped the headphones off his head and looked around at the players on his right and the recording engineers on his left.

“That was pretty magical,” he said with a grin.

All of us gathered at Top Hat Studio for the occasion nodded our heads in agreement. We’d just nailed Jon Dee’s song, “The Ballad of Dan Stuart,” in a single take, not bad considering we’d never played together before that week.

It was early February, but strangely warm outside, when Susan, Chris, and I set up for the inaugural session at the new Top Hat Studios, which had relocated from Austin, Texas, to Knoxville.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jon Dee Graham had come from Texas to lay down tracks with his friends and longtime collaborators, Top Hat proprietors John Harvey and Mary Podio. The TL3 was fortunate enough to be invited to be the backing band for the sessions, which yielded five songs.

As a fan of Jon Dee’s, it was especially gratifying to be involved in the project, which took place during what had been a particularly slow winter for our band.


Where Does the Time Go?

Editor’s note: Tim wrote this “Diary of a Never Was” installment back in November, but it fell between the cracks during winter hibernation. Now maybe that lazy bastard will get back in the groove sometime and start writing these blog entries on a regular basis. Who knows?

November 14, 2015

I figure since it’s been about exactly three months since I scribbled for you, that maybe it’s time to do it again. To be honest, my brain has been a bit scrambled here lately dealing with the new world order at Casa del Lee. We’ve been plenty busy (and then some), doing the things that pay the bills as well as those that feed the soul. All that added up leaves little time for pecking on the keyboard.

Last night, I was at an art fair at Ironwood Studios, a cool local metal and woodworking shop. Lots of local artisans were on hand, displaying their wares. Susan shared a table with our friend Billie Sue Owens. Susan had her Wrist Rock-Its out for perusal alongside Billie Sue’s handmade jewelry. The whole deal was a good time with several good friends, barbecue courtesy of Sweet P’s, and cool art.

I was talking to one of the artists, a guy I’d met at Music Room Guitars, the shop owned by our guitar pusher Brad Gibson. He mentioned that he’d enjoyed my blogs on here, which reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve done one.

So, here I am again. I’ll try to play some catch-up and not get too bogged down in the details. I wouldn’t want to be boring or anything.


I’m Back …

August 13, 2015

Miss me, dear readers? (Kinda presumptive, I guess, to assume anyone is reading this, but a fellow’s gotta dream.) I’ve been remiss in my scribbling duties, and I apologize for that.

Let’s see, what’s been going on around here? After an actual slow week, musically, for me (not for Susan, bless her heart, who spent a whole five days, nine hours a day, working with kids at the Knoxville Girls Rock Camp … it was hard, but she said it was rewarding), last week got back to some sort of normal busy-ness.

On Tuesday, I rehearsed with the Barstool Romeos, the rockin’ honky-tonkers I play with from time to time. The band is fronted Mike McGill (who I’ve mentioned before) and Andy Pirkle, and features Josh Sidman on bass and Mark Dunn (who I played with on a McGill and the Refills gig a couple blogs ago) on drums.

I’ve known Mike and Andy since the Corner Lounge days. Back then, Mike was a clean-cut bluegrass picker and singer and Andy was the leader of a great punk rock band called Speed Shifter. Since that time, Mike’s hair has grown out and he’s delved deeper into his hard country and southern rock roots, while Andy has moved more in that same direction. Once the long-time friends figured out they could write songs and sing together well, sparks started to fly.

And they both have excellent beards.