San Francisco based psych Americana band, Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah, are an organ/guitar driven rock band whose shows transport the audience out of a traditional music venue and into a hazy, hip shaking psychedelic tent revival.
Described as “An obvious walking, talking lead singer” by City Beat Magazine, Gallagher has rapidly risen to the top of San Francisco’s rock scene. His EP, Valley of a Dying Breed features acclaimed singer-songwriter Victoria Williams, a champion of Gallagher’s work and an artist he credits as an influence. On the heels of Valley, Gallagher, along with his band, The Hallelujah are now embarking on tour as they gear up for the release of their first, full-length, self-titled record.
Bonding over a love of Bobby Charles (among many other influences) The Hallelujah are a group of like-minded musicians comprised of Kirby Hammel on piano/organ, Jacob Landry on lead guitar, Kevin Grapski on bass and Joe Miller on drums. Along with Gallagher the band is a group of people who are constantly playing and evolving together.
The band has been together for a year and claims the turning point was when they booked studio time without knowing what the album was going to be. “I essentially brought all my notebooks to rehearsal and just started playing—arranged about 20 songs and narrowed it down from there,” said Gallagher, “We had 3 weeks before the first session, and it was the first time I have ever worked on a ‘deadline’ musically. It was a testament to the energy and devotion of the band. It also created a cohesiveness that one tries to obtain while making an album. The most exciting thing is how the band continues to develop that cosmic connectivity that all musicians strive for when playing together.”
“The Hallelujah Prelude” eases the listener into the music with Gallagher’s hazy, dreamlike vocals and leads to “Sugartown” which layers cosmically sublime music that will weave throughout the album. The song, “Gloryland” takes its name from the title of an old hymn and the band kicks it into high gear with their gospel-rock sound. “Shallow Grave” takes that same energy and adds a little voodoo, while “Feel Like Going Home” is a lament framed by wailing guitars. The song was recorded live and captures the band at their finest. The psychedelic song, “That’s How The Light Gets In” borrowed its name from a line in Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”. Gallagher was inspired after playing a show with known rock author, Sylvie Simmons, who had just finished her book on Cohen. The album ends with an anthemic rock number, “1935” which Gallagher said was inspired by reading a lot of Zora Neale Hurston. “I decided to have my own version of a Sunday afternoon in 1935.”
For the new kids on the block, the band has had an incredible welcome, opening for well-known bands such as Living Colour, The Doobie Brothers, Boston and The Tubes. They’ve also played the legendary Haight-Ashbury Street Fair and the first annual Not Dead Yet Fest, along with working with the folks at Light Rail Studios and having Betty Cantor (legendary Grateful Dead recording engineer) stop by one of their sessions. Gallagher and the Hallelujah recently released their debut video & single to “Ready for the Mountain” which was recorded on Jerry Garcia’s tape machine. They’ve also released a video and single for the song, “American Flags”, a hazy folk-rock track that merges easily into the Americana music genre.
After taking a brief hiatus from playing this summer (keyboardist Kirby Hammel joined Sun Kil Moon on tour), the band is back and taking their electrifying live show on the road in support of their first full-length record. “I think this band has a ton of soul,” said Gallagher, “We are punk rock without playing ‘punk’ music.”