Posts Tagged ‘Lee Bains’

More than anything, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires is a product of its place. Had Lee Bains, the group’s frontman and primary songwriter, grown up anywhere but Birmingham, Alabama, it’s unclear what his music would sound like. In the vein of explicitly local songwriters like John K. Samson and Greg Barnett, Bains’ relationship with his home is ambiguous, nuanced, complex. On the band’s third full-length record, “Youth Detention//Nail My Feet Down to the South Side of Town”, Bains applies a lacerating critical lens to his city and himself, dismantling the violently discriminatory socialization he experienced growing up. He rages against Americas prison complex , the criminalization and subjugation of black bodies, the objectification of women, and the moral dissonance of American rhetoric; these are all related in personal narratives, coloured by detail and reflection.

For Bains, progress is impossible without admission of this embedded prejudice: “Guilt is not a feeling, it’s a natural fact!” he shouts on “I Can Change!” Only once guilt and complicity is acknowledge can restitution or restorative justice be pursued. Like the work of Samson and Barnett, what resonates insistently on Youth Detention is that these stories and issues aren’t local; geography is just a tool for rooting the stories that exist across the globe.

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