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The Rialto Theatre Foundation receives generous support from the following partners

Thu | August 15, 2024
The Rialto Theatre Presents
Gabe Lee @ 191 Toole
w/ Adam Townsend
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
191 Toole
21 and up
Buy Tickets

Doors 7PM | Show 8PM | GA Seated | 21 & Over - ID REQUIRED | Public On Sale - 5/22

To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into our venues, Rialto Theatre & 191 Toole have instituted a clear bag policy as of March 1st, 2022. The policy limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into our venues. The following is a list of bags that will be accepted for entry: Bags that are clear plastic or vinyl and do not exceed 12in x 6in x 12in One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar) Small clutch bags, approximately 5in x 7in All bags subject to search. Clear bags are available for sale at the box office.


Gabe Lee

Gabe Lee has been collecting stories for years, both onstage and off. "I used to bartend," says the Nashville-based songwriter, "which means I was also a cheap therapist for whomever happened to be sitting on the barstool. Whether they were there to celebrate or drink away their problems, I heard about whatever they were going through. It was my job to have that face-to-face interaction — that connection. Being a full-time musician isn't much different." With critically-acclaimed albums like 2019's farmland, 2020's Honky-Tonk Hell, and 2022's The Hometown Kid, Lee created that connection by delivering his own stories to an ever-growing audience. His fourth record, Drink the River, takes a different approach. This time, Lee isn't offering listeners a peek into his internal world; he's holding up a mirror to reflect their own. Rooted in the bluegrass influences that have always simmered beneath the surface of Lee's music, Drink the River is an acoustic album about the shared human experience. These songs are true-life tales of heartbreak, love, overdoses, and resilience. They're stories about the highs and lows that bind us all together. Lee collected some of those stories from his family and friends, while others arrived as he crisscrossed the country over the past decade, playing show after show, meeting characters from all walks of life. "There's a lot of raw, personal emotion on my first three records," he explains, "but I love singing about other people's stories, too. On Drink the River, I'm drinking from the river of human experience, through which all our collective stories flow. That river is probably a little dirty — it isn't purified or sanitized — but that means it's real, too." Arriving on the heels of The Hometown Kid — whose robust, amplified sound earned praise from outlets like Rolling Stone and Billboard — Drink the River marks a back-to-the-roots return to the folksy, stripped-down music that Lee created during the beginning of his career. He captured these nine songs with a series of live-in-the-studio performances at Sound Emporium Studios, accompanied by three of his longtime bandmates: dobro player Lucciana Costa, bassist Tim Denbo, and drummer Dave Racine. Fiddle player Jason Roller and mandolinist Eamon McLaughlin also contributed to the sessions, with both musicians taking a break from their regular gig as members of the Grand Ole Opry house band to join Lee in the studio. The group worked fast, finishing the bulk of Drink the River in two days. The instrumentation may have been acoustic, but the energy was electric. "Merigold," with its minor-key melody and gorgeous vocal harmonies, sketches the picture of a married couple ripped apart by cancer. Lee first met the couple's widowed husband at a show in Merigold, Mississippi, and was moved by the story of his late wife's passing. Mortality weaves its way throughout much of Drink the River, showing up once again in songs like "Lidocaine" (a gorgeous folk song inspired by an Uber ride in which Lee learned his driver had been diagnosed with dementia at 40 years old) and "Even Jesus Gets the Blues" (whose deceptively bright textures are contrasted by darker lyrics about a friend's overdose). Drink the River also offers moments of humor. Lee took inspiration from his girlfriend's father — a deer farmer in Alabama, eager to keep trespassers off his private land — for the light and limber "Property Line," which he describes as "a salty-old-redneck, country-justice type song." Finally, the title track reaffirms Lee's status as a classic songwriter, pairing nimble fretwork with a timeless storyline about love, loyalty, and the people who lure even the most dedicated road warriors back home again. "I can't drink the river to dry the land / Bury the ocean beneath the sand / But I can love you until the tide pulls me under, by and by," he sings, his voice flanked by mandolin and acoustic guitar. Storytelling has been an anchor of Lee's music since the very beginning. Raised by Taiwanese parents in Nashville, TN, he left home during his teenage years and headed to Indiana, where he obtained college degrees in literature and journalism. Lee launched his career as a genre- bending musician after returning to Tennessee, quickly progressing from dive bar gigs to high- profile opening slots (including shows with Jason Isbell, Los Lobos, Molly Tuttle, and other artists who, like him, blurred the lines between roots-rock, country, and other forms of American folk music) to his own headlining shows. Throughout it all, he drew upon the narrative skills he'd sharpened as a student. If albums like Honky-Tonk Hell and The Hometown Kid often unfolded like autobiographical entries from his road journal, though, then Drink the River shows an even broader range of his storytelling abilities. Lee isn't just writing songs about himself; he's writing songs about all of us. And maybe, in doing so, he can bring us a little closer together. "People need a reason to connect right now, more than ever," he says. "The common ground between us seems to be fading rapidly. If there's a fundamental aspect to that proverbial common ground, it's human spirit and raw emotion. We've all experienced joy, despair, love, hurt, and loss. We all understand how those things feel, and I believe it's a responsibility for people like me to share those stories. I'm feeling very inspired by the shared experience of others. I just want to pass it down the line."

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