Johnny Lee was born Johnny Lee Howard on October 19, 1968, in Kettering, Ohio. Johnny's parents, Roy Lee and Judy, moved to Kettering that same year from Laurel County Kentucky so that his father could go to work for the new Frigidaire assembly plant near Dayton. Although his home has always been in the "buckeye" state of Ohio, Johnny's country roots are deeply seeded within him from his family's Kentucky heritage. When he was 12, his mother Judy gave him his first guitar (a Takamine acoustic 6-string) and taught him how to play Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. Johnny always played for Roy Lee and Judy. As he got older and moved out on his own, he would come by to visit his parents with his guitar in hand. He would sing and play songs for them that he had been working on. Each visit would always end with Roy Lee telling him about another old great country tune he liked, and Johnny was always eager to please his dad by playing it for him on his next visit. It was this ritual that helped Johnny build his vast repertoire of traditional country cover material he now plays out either with his band or during one of his solo acoustic shows.
Johnny graduated from Fairmont High School in Kettering in 1987, where he enjoyed many successes as both student, quarterback and as a leading member of the schools speech and drama club. After attending three years of college at the University of Dayton and Wright State University, Johnny decided to enter into the lucrative field of corporate sales in the information technology industry. Johnny encountered great success and became one of the top sales executives for two different companies during a twelve-year career. The business experience Johnny acquired during his career in sales has helped him to better deal with the business side of music.
During the 90's, Johnny's country music spark was ignited. He spent hours each week reading about and listening to all the hero's of the music he loved so dearly. He picked up on the Nashville Number System for musical arrangements and began picking apart every country song he liked. By the time he was 28, he was singing loudly for anyone who would listen. Johnny frequently would use his garage as a place to get away so he could be himself, and on Sunday mornings it was common for neighbors to gather around to hear him sing the latest hits from George Strait or Alan Jackson. He also began attending open-mic nights around town and Johnny quickly earned a reputation as being a great talent within the local musicians networks .
After enduring a painful series of separations and ultimately divorce from his wife, Johnny turned to music and used the time he now had to fine-tune his newest love-country music. He began spending even more time in the clubs and he would sing and play with every band that would let him sit in. In 2002 he formed his own band, Lonesome Ridge-a 6 piece band that is still with him today. Johnny Lee set the pace for the band right from day 1. After being together as a group for only 3 days, Johnny informed the band that they were scheduled to play their first gig at a club in Dayton in only two days.
Now a very well known name from Dayton to Cincinnati, Johnny Lee and The Lonesome Ridge Band will play over 130 dates in 2004, and 2005 is shaping up nicely as well. Performing live is Johnny Lee's biggest passion. Whether it's a small club in a rural town or a packed auditorium, Johnny feels most comfortable on stage. He uses his wireless microphone as a tool to work the crowd and interact with his fans during his shows. In August 2004, Johnny Lee was honored to perform for a crowd of 11,000 people in Cincinnati at the 105th annual Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. Johnny and his band was the feature act, performing a 40 minute patriotic show that left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance. After the show, the national commander congratulated Johnny by shaking his hand and offering him the lead spot at the 2005 convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Johnny Lee's debut CD, It's a Long Way Back, which he recorded with KMA Records-Nashville in March 2004, is full of potential chart-topping songs, including the hits Free for All Friday Night and It's a Long Way Back, which have received a substantial amount of world-wide radio airplay. The CD peaked at #51 on the Worldwide Independent Most Played Charts in July 2004, and Johnny was nominated for a King Eagle Award in the trailblazer category from Airplay International in Nashville.
Still unsigned to a major label, Johnny realizes the importance of writing songs that have commercial value. He is currently hard at work writing the songs for his next CD (which he is titling Country is Alive in Me), a collection of songs about his own life experiences dating back to his childhood. He also has his sites on including remakes of at least 3 old country classics, for a total of 14 tracks. Johnny has been making weekly visits to the well-known Blue Bird CafÃ© in Nashville to perform his new songs acoustically in order to gain feedback from other Nashville writers. Johnny hopes to be in the studio to begin recording by the end of the year, with an aim of releasing the CD by Spring of 2005.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer. Johnny Lee is country music and he's ready to hit the road and tell the whole world about it! To learn more, please visit www.johnnyleeh.com or call (937) 848-9268.
Check out the artist's website:
1. I Can't Take My Heart Anywhere
2. Free For All Friday Night
3. To Late to Hold On (To Soon to Let Go)
4. Makin It
5. It's a Long Way Back
6. Politically Incorrect
8. I've Been There
9. Things Could Be Worse
10. The Right Person at the Right Time