Frankie Lee (Americana musician)

Frankie Lee (born Frankie Lee Peterson, April 20, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, originally from Stillwater, Minnesota[1].

Frankie Lee
Background information
Birth nameFrankie Lee Peterson
Born (1982-06-28) June 28, 1982
Folk rock
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Piano, Harmonica
Years active2003–present
WebsiteFrankie Lee Official Website

In spring of 2013 he released an EP, Middle West. Having been voted the Best Songwriter by City Pages in 2014, Lee received radio play by KCMP. In the spring of 2015, Lee released a four-song video EP[2]. In the summer of 2015, Lee signed a worldwide record deal with London-based record label, Loose[3]. On October 2, 2015, Lee's first full-length album, American Dreamer, was released in the Europe[4].

Both in the studio and during live performances, Lee has been accompanied by Michael Lewis, Andrew Bird, JT Bates, Jacob Hanson, Jeremy Hanson, and Mike Rossetto.

Early life

At the age of twelve, Lee inherited his father's record collection and an acoustic guitar. He spent days and nights teaching himself to play along to folk, country, and western records. Lee cites the music of Bob Dylan and Hank Williams as motivators to start writing his own material.

Raised in bars by his father's friends and uncle (Johnny Vincent), Lee started performing on stage in his early teens. Slim Dunlap and Curtiss A were mentors and would take the time to show him songs and invite him on stage to play and sing with their bands.

Influenced by Nirvana, The Dead Milkmen, Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams. Lee began his own musical career in local bars, playing four-hour cover sets under the name Clyde. The band was composed of high school friends Brendan Kane and Sam Rockwell.

Lee graduated high school in 2000 and left for college in Wisconsin on a full soccer scholarship. After his third semester in college, Lee talked his coach into letting him take out his scholarship money to "go west".

Lee lived in Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, Tulsa, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.


In early 2001, Lee moved to Austin to study the craft of his favorite writers and storytellers at the time. Eventually he settled into east Austin working for Townes Van Zandt's son (JT) while recording his first demos on Joe Ely's 4 track recorder. He passed around tapes to what would land him local bookings and a following of like minded musicians in the up-and-coming folk/americana scene.

After almost 7 years in Austin, urban development and gentrification pushed him further away from the city center. Lee decide to move to Buda, Texas where he could focus more of his time on writing and recording his own music. Working at a horse stable by day to cover his rent, he would commute to the city on motorcycle by night. In the fall of 2008, feeling his time in Austin was coming to an end, Lee threw one last get together at Polvos Mexican restaurant and the Longbranch Inn and decided to move to Los Angeles the next day.

Once in Los Angeles, Lee booked shows opening for Dawes. While living in a warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles, Lee was immersed in a scene of DIY musicians, and performed with the Allah-Las, Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson, and Farmer Dave.

After returning home in the fall of 2010, Lee started recording songs that would become for his Middle West EP. The EP sold over 2,000 copies at the Minneapolis record store Electric Fetus.

In early 2015, Lee signed a record deal with London-based label, Loose, and released his first full-length record, American Dreamer. The album was released in the United States in the summer of 2016 through Loose and distributed by Thirty Tigers.

Lee's second full-length record, Stillwater, was recorded at a makeshift studio in his mother's house in Stillwater, Minnesota and released in June 2019.[5] Lee's song "Speakeasy" was featured in the third episode of the NBC series This Is Us on October 8, 2019.


Studio Albums
Studio EPs
  • Middle West (2013)
7" Singles
  • Where Do We Belong / Buffalo 7"


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