With the release last month of It Rains Love, one of his most nuanced and hypnotically grooving albums yet, Lee Fields is celebrating 50 years as a soul journeyman.

Fields, who has deep roots in the golden era of funk and soul, paved the way for artists like Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley—he counts them both as close friends—through a community of musicians and producers who went on to form record labels such as Daptone, Truth & Soul and Big Crown beginning in the late 90s.

It Rains Love was made with the help of his band, The Expressions, and Big Crown Records producer and co-founder Leon Michels. Lee Fields & The Expressions launched their 2019 tour with a hometown album release show at Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg and continues throughout the US and Europe well into the fall.

Fields, the torch-bearer of emotionally raw soul music, still restlessly moves forward.

Lee Fields & The Expressions soundcheck before the album release show for It Rains Love at Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg.

Fields shakes hands backstage with fans who contributed to a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary film about him.

 

Fields writes out the lyrics to a song on the set list.

Joey Crispiano and Benny Trokan work out their guitar parts backstage before the show.

Trumpet player Jason Colby warms up backstage.

Fields changes into stage clothes in a small dressing room.

Freddy DeBoe assembles his saxophone in the dressing room.

As the band warms up the crowd with an instrumental, Fields pauses to listen.

Fields removes his jacket before his encore.

Fields’ daughter, Gale, and wife, Christine, help with a wardrobe change before the encore. 

The Expressions leave the stage: (L to R) Joey Crispiano, Benny Trokan, Nick Movshon, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, Evan Pazner, Jason Colby, Jason Prover.

 

This photoessay is the sixth installment in On The Road, a series of visual essays that explores the creative lives of notable musicians, onstage and off.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Recent

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.