Henry Lee Summer: Never take it away

Take your high class show and tell

Wrote about Henry Lee Summer, with this incredible voice and pop promise, who faded and then faded by challenges. Turns out that the music becomes the focus to redemption. Unlike Paul James or Bill Durst, who have built consistent careers way from the stadium, when Henry Lee is on a the smaller stages, these become refuges from the trainwreck. The Wayne McQuaid track, but where the initial promise was much greater, and the current track with less jump out of the sidebed.

As here, Henry Lee playing to the much smaller crowds:

Henry Lee Summer seeking brighter days
David Lindquist, IndyStar, January 2, 2014

Henry Lee Summer is singing onstage, but the loudest person in this strip-mall bar is arguing about a card game.

Nearly everyone here on a recent chilled night is focused on cards, not actively listening to Summer or even facing the stage.

Yet the 1980s Hoosier hitmaker plays Drifty’s on the Far Southside every Wednesday, skillfully executing covers of songs popularized by the Animals, Bill Withers and the Commodores.

When no applause arrives at the end of songs, Summer stands up from his electric piano and takes an exaggerated bow. Humor makes the gig bearable, and Summer figures that playing music is better than the alternative.

“I have to keep myself busy,” he says after the show. “That’s the main thing. The enemy that I have is idle time.”

Summer once viewed his music as a lifeline for others instead of himself…

He performs in small-time rooms all over town to keep a drug relapse at bay.

“Music keeps that demon off my shoulder,” said Summer, who has three rounds of rehab on his resume. He says he’s been clean and sober for more than two years…

“I’m not looking to do it again. To do it once is a miracle,” Summer said of his heyday. “When it’s all said and done, I want to do enough good music-wise that I erase the stigma that I put on myself with the drug stuff.”…

As it was:

1988 to 2013: still there:

Sometime in between:

Shortly after the 2014 interview:

Refuge. No takedown.


About brucelarochelle

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