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Palm Coast Thursday, Sep. 30, 2021 1 year ago

Coming to Creekside: Pryor and Lee headline 2021 Flagler festival

The 16th-annual festival, at Princess Place Preserve, will be Oct. 9-10.
by: Brian McMillan Contributing Writer

They met on "The Voice." They got a record deal. Now they're working with some of the best songwriters in country music, they have a new music video, and they're releasing their first EP in November. Pryor and Lee are dreaming big, and they're stopping at Creekside 2021 on Oct. 10, to perform under the majestic oaks at Princess Place Preserve. Pryor Baird and Kaleb Lee recently spoke with the Observer about their new songs and their creative process.


“Right Now” is your first song where you’re on the songwriting credits. What does that feel like?

Kaleb Lee: That was a really special song for us. We write as much as we can, but we’re always open to cutting the best song. The best song always wins. We were writing the song with Josh Hoge and Chris DiStefano. We were going to write it as a demo, but it became the track we cut and released. We wrote it in June, and we were finalizing the EP at the time, which will be out in December, and this song snuck in and became the title track.

How do you decide what song to record?

Pryor Baird: It just hits you. You hear it, you know. And you get the reaction from other people. You can tell. It’s effortless, and everybody loves it.

Kaleb Lee: Everybody’s different. The best song for us isn’t the best for the next group.


Writing is often seen as a solitary art, but country songs are often written in collaborations. Can you explain what the process is like?

Pryor Baird: It’s fun, man. It can be a solitary thing, too; you do it all the time by yourself, but then someone else will say, “What if you do it like this?” Two minds are better than one.

Kaleb Lee: That’s the magic of songwriting. You can never articulate how and why and when you get these same people in the room, they might write a hit one day and the biggest not-hit the next day. Lightning strikes, or you get that great idea that launches everyone’s brains in the same direction. As a songwriter, you’ve been in the room enough when it doesn’t happen, that you can realize when it has.


Pryor plays guitar on the new music video for “Right Now.” What does that do for you, rather than having a studio musician add the guitar solo?

Pryor Baird: I just think of the guitar as another member of the band. All I do is play the guitar — that’s my first love.

Kaleb Lee: I’ll speak for Pryor. His guitar playing is one thing that really separate us from other duo artists and artists in general. This is not a knock on everyone else, but there are great songwriters, and great singers and guitar players, and very rarely do you get all of those things at once, and we just happened to luck out that we got two great vocals and a great guitar on stage. It adds to everything that is Prior and Lee, and it makes us stand out.


I’ve noticed that when Pryor is starting a solo, Kaleb looks like he’s having a lot of fun.

Kaleb Lee: He’s got more to think about in those moments. It’s like when a parent is looking at their kid, like, “That’s mine, that’s ours.” There’s another degree of specialness, looking at your duo partner and seeing him rip.


You also co-wrote “I Don’t Bleed Red,” which is posted to your YouTube channel. Is it going to be on the upcoming EP?

Kaleb Lee: No, but I’m glad you asked about that;  it’s a fun song that we wrote with Fred Wilhelm. That’s one in the back pocket, on the list of future opportunities.


Some of your songs are about weekend parties. What do you hope these songs do for your listeners?

Kaleb Lee: We hope they play it at their weekend parties. (Laughs) I think our EP will give the most accurate picture of who Pryor and Lee are. Not every song is about a party. That’s the songs that people turn up loud and make memories to, but country music is about a lifestyle. We write songs that they relate to on Monday to Friday, and songs for Sunday, and songs they relate to on Friday nights.


I laughed out loud at, “Alcohol of Fame,” on YouTube, a song about a slacker who’s proud that he doesn’t do much overtime, and in fact, “I clock out at 39.” How important is it to have those kinds of ironic hooks?

Pryor Baird: Those are what get your attention.

Kaleb Lee: We want to make songs that’a make people laugh, that make people cry, have a good time. That’s what it’s about for us: songs that connect with people.


What do you do when you’re not touring?

Kaleb Lee: There’s not much time for hobbies at this point. I love it when it get to spend time with my kids, love to be in the woods, anything I can do to decompress.


You’re playing soon at Creekside Festival at Princess Place Preserve, surrounded by live oaks. What’s it like in an outdoor setting vs. in a bar or other music venue?

Kaleb Lee: It’ll be fun seeing some local faces. It’ll be an acoustic show for us.

Pryor Baird: It’s a totally different feel, man. Being outside in nature, it’s a different sound.



Brian McMillan was editor of the Palm Coast Observer from 2010 to 2022. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children....

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