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Richie Lee, with the Fabulous 50s, performs the first of two sets at the Mower County Fair Thursday night at Fair Square.
Richie Lee, with the Fabulous 50s, performs the first of two sets at the Mower County Fair Thursday night at Fair Square.

Archived Story

Rocking like it’s the 1950s

Published 11:11am Friday, August 9, 2013

23-year-old brings classics to county fair

Rather than play modern music like most artists his age, 23-year-old Richie Lee likes to jam out to 1950s and 1960s music by artists like Buddy Holly and Ricky Nelson.

The Des Moines, Iowa, native had no problem getting the audience up and moving Thursday at the Mower County Free Fair, where people danced and sang along with him and his 1955 Fender Stratocaster.

“This is the kind of music I grew up with, so its good to hear,” said Gordy Cassidy, a fan in the crowd.

Lee was introduced to ‘50s music when he was 6, and has loved the genre ever since. When he was 11, he started taking guitar lessons and at age 13, he started his own band.

“I grew up listening to it,” he said. “My parents listened to it on the radio, and the music just stayed with me.”

Lee said he enjoys playing ‘50s and ‘60s music because it’s upbeat and people like to listen to it.

“I just always liked the sound, and the songs are fun,” he said.

Richie Lee performs hits from the 50s and 60s during his first performance Thursday evening at the Mower County Fair.
Richie Lee performs hits from the 50s and 60s during his first performance Thursday evening at the Mower County Fair.

Lee has a very personal connection to that generation of music as well.

Lee resembles Buddy Holly and he won first place at a Buddy Holly look-alike contest when he was 7.

Lee said their similarities in appearance had a large influence on his life.

“Buddy Holly made glasses cool,” he said.

Lee often plays with a completely different set of backup musicians for new audiences. The musicians he played with at the fair Thursday were all local residents.

“You meet with other musicians and you practice with them until you get the sound you’re looking for,” he said.

According to Lee, ‘50s and ‘60s music truly is his passion, and the audiences respond to his emotions.

“If you look like you’re having fun then they’ll have fun,” he said.

Lee said Austin gave him a great audience, and he hopes to come back in the future.

“I really enjoyed playing here and would like to play here again sometime,” he said.

For those who missed the concert or would like to see the performance again, Lee will perform at the Steele County Fair, 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 17.


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