Hear AJ Lee & Blue Summit Lock Into Their Natural Groove On “He Called Me Baby”

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What began as a simple lament for a long lost lover, AJ Lee & Blue Summit’s cover of Harlan Howard’s tune “He Called Me Baby” highlights the unmatchable chemistry between the members of one of the fastest rising groups in the worlds of Americana and Bluegrass. The Northern California-based quartet—Lee (mandolin), Sullivan Tuttle (guitar), Scott Gates (guitar), and Jan Purat (fiddle)—have dedicated their time to making music solely for the joy of making it, and the results are as pure as the process itself.

Funky without drums, thoughtful without pretense, and so blue it hurts, “He Called Me Baby” follows a rich tradition of combining Country and blues elements dating back to some of the first Bristol, Tennessee, recording sessions with Jimmie Rodgers in the 20s and the blossoming of bluegrass as a genre in the 40s and 50s. Originally written as "She Called Me Baby," Patsy Cline sang and released it from a woman's perspective in 1963 followed by Candi Stanton in 1971. Now Lee brings a fresh take and powerful delivery to the song’s devastating refrain with more of a lived experience feeling than that of imitation.

“He Called Me Baby” is the latest single from AJ Lee & Blue Summit’s upcoming full-length album, City of Glass. Produced by The California Honeydrops’ Lech Wierzynski and releasing July 19th via Signature Sounds—making it the band’s first label-backed record—City of Glass finds Lee & Blue Summit still carrying the youthful, festival-parking-lot energy that brought them together, but with the genuine ease and confidence of recording artist veterans well beyond their years. Yesterday, JamBase premiered the single a day early for fans.

Fans can hear “He Called Me Baby” today at this link, plus check out Lee & Blue Summit’s previously released single, “Hillside,” and pre-order or pre-save City of Glass ahead of its July release right here. AJ Lee & Blue Summit hit the road again on May 26th for their headlining set at Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley, California. A full list of tour dates can be found below or at bluesummitmusic.com/tour-dates.

More About City of Glass: City of Glass is a California affair, through and through. Lee & Blue Summit brought in Lech Wierzynski, of the California Honeydrops, to produce; they tapped Bay Area steel guitarist Mikiya Matsuda for a couple of tracks; plus they had Californian banjo player, and instructor, Luke Abbott lend five-string to a number. The group is proud to be Californian, proud to represent the neo-traditionalist bluegrass and folk from the state and the mighty communities surrounding them. Their music shines with this “think global, act local” sort of approach.

Wierzynski prioritized making the band sound exactly like themselves, producing the vocals to be and sound live whenever possible, moving the band along when a take checked all the boxes and still bringing in genre and aesthetic inspirations that feel brand new. City of Glass, as a result, is an album that’s just as much country soul and gritty, bluesy Americana as it is bluegrass, all framed through a California folk lens while clearly primed for a much wider audience.

City of Glass Tracklisting:


He Called Me Baby


Can’t Find You at All

City of Glass


I Still Think of Her

Sick on a Plane

Bakersfield Clay

Bedside Window

Solicitor Man

All I Know

Catch AJ Lee & Blue Summit On Tour:

May 26 - Grass Valley, CA - Strawberry Music Festival

June 8 - Wind Gap, PA - Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival

June 20-21 - Telluride, CO - Telluride Bluegrass Festival

June 27 - Victor, ID - Music on Main

June 29-30 - Sisters, OR - Big Ponderoo Festival

July 6 - Quincy, CA - High Sierra Music Festival

July 9 - Rockford, IL - Anderson Japanese Gardens

July 11 - Sheboygan, WI - Levitt Shell

July 12 - Buchanan, MI - Buchanan Commons Music Series

July 13 - Frankfort, IL - Frankfort Bluegrass on the Green Festival

July 20-21 - Darrington, WA - Darrington Bluegrass Festival

Aug 13 - Ridgefield, CT - CHIRP

Aug 16 - Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia Folk Festival

Aug.17 - Manchester, VT - Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots

Aug. 24 - Novato, CA - Hopmonk Tavern

Aug. 25 - Washoe Valley, NV - Bowers Bluegrass Festival

Aug 30 - Chattanooga, TN - Nightfall Concert Series

Aug. 31 - Mill Spring, NC - Earl Scruggs Music Festival

Sept 14 - Bristol, VA - Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival

Sept 18 - Nashville, TN - Americana Music Festival

Sept. 20 - Winfield, KS - Walnut Valley Festival

For ticket information, please visit bluesummitmusic.com/tour-dates.