It was a cold January day on a remote highway in Idaho. A young man stopped to help other travelers who were trapped in an overturned truck. As the man was working to rescue them, another car skidded off the road and struck him at highway speed. That man was Lee Penn Sky. On that grey day, Lee almost lost his life and nearly lost his leg; what he did lose was his fear. Until this day, Lee had been a prolific songwriter but never stepped from behind the shelter of a band into the spotlight himself. The risk of stepping into the spotlight seemed to pale in comparison to nearly losing his life. Slowly as he healed he began writing new songs and to perform solo. Healing from his severe injuries gave Lee time to figure out who he was as a songwriter, time to hone his skills and style. Lee plays folk-oriented songs that span the Americana range, and are rooted in his Michigan childhood and the high-plains desert of Idaho, where he now resides. He has an affinity for Texan songwriters like Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, and the late great Townes Van Zandt. While these artists inform Lee Penn Sky’s music, he doesn’t emulate his heroes. Though poetic Lee’s songwriting is deceptively simple, but the unadorned nature of his writing makes the songs all the more powerful – his metaphorical lyrics have a way of cutting to the heart of a matter and his presentation is often compared to Colin Hay’s solo work. As a solo artist he has a unique, direct, moving and often melancholic style of conveying his lyrics which lends to a very intimate feel. With his band Lee Penn Sky and the Oliphants- Lee is explosive, spontaneous and uninhibited. Lee Penn Sky has shared the stage with some amazing artists such as Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket, Rhett Miller of Old 97s, the Black Lillies, the Barefoot Movement, Tony Furtado, and Allie Kral from Yonder Mountain String Band. He has been billed with acts such as the Cowboy Junkies, Son Volt, the Old 97s, the Seldom Scene and many more. Lee has played at many festivals, fairs and showcases including being a two time songwriting finalist in the Susanne Millsaps performing songwriter showcase, a finalist in the T.R. Ritchie songwriting contest, playing at the Snowbird Mountain Music Festival, playing the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, played the Tucson Folk Festival, the Spokane Fall Folk Festival, the Salt Lake Folk and Bluegrass Festival, been booked for the L.A. Americana Music Festival , played the Yellow Pine Harmonica and Music festival and appeared at the Treefort Music Festival. He has played a number of great concert series such as the Music from Stanley Series and Boise’s Alive after 5 series. He has been feature on several television shows such as the Park City TV show Soundtracks and Boise Song Talk. Lee and his band the Oliphants released 29 Left Down, their new 13 song cd in March of 2015 to much anticipation and immediate critical acclaim. Several of Lee’s songs from his debut album Prelude to Hindsight released in 2006, have been played on folk and alt-country radio shows throughout the United States and in Europe. His song “The Trees” was included on In Our Town: Songs for BOISE 150 in 2013. Lee is an official endorser of G7th Capos, Seydel Harmonicas and is included in the Taylor Guitar Artist program.
- Roger Mastroianni
- Janet Smith Lucas Beck