Ezra Lee


Ezra Lee Matzenik was born on 15 October 1986 in Tamworth NSW. His father, Ed Matzenik (born 28 December 1944), helped run Enrec Studio in the rural city with Steve Newton. Ed is also a country blues musician and has played bass guitar in Johnny Green's Blues Cowboys, alongside Pete "Flash" Sheedy (Lee's uncle), on lap steel guitar. Lee started playing piano at the age of four, learning the Floyd Cramer tune, "Last Date", from his father. Lee used his father's record collection to teach himself boogie woogie and barrelhouse piano styles. He obtained blues lessons from Dr John and Johnny 'B. Goode' Johnson when they toured Australia. Lee developed his piano style within these genres.

By 1999 Lee was living in Maitland, and played piano on weekends with different country artists at the local club, The Tin Hut. He was a session pianist for Flash Sheedy, at Angelwood Studios in Currabubula and toured outback New South Wales with guitarist, Buddy Knox. At 14, Lee joined Johnny Green's Blues Cowboys and toured with them for six years. In 2009, the Melbourne rockabilly label, Preston Records, released two of Lee's albums, Out of the Valley (February), and his first full-length album, You Can't Stop a Freight Train (April), which was engineered by Grahame Thomas and Cal Robinson. For that album Lee used Robinson on bass guitar, Pat Capocci on guitar and Ricky "the Goat" on drums. In May 2010, he travelled to Barcelona, Spain to perform at the Screamin' Rockabilly Festival to support Bill Haley's Original Comets.

In November and December 2010 and the following February, Lee performed in a musical theatre show, The Ultimate Rock 'n' Roll Jam Session, with James Blundell, Nick Barker, Dave Larkin and Doug Parkinson.[12][13][14] David Kary of Sydney Arts Guide website specified one of the highlights as "Whiz kid Ezra Lee banging away at the keyboards with everything, including his sandshoes!"[14] On 22 April 2011 Lee performed at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend in Las Vegas, supporting Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 2012, Lee recorded, Ca$hed Up n Crazy ín Maitland. Dominique Wall of the Music.com.au website caught his album launch gig in September:

"[his] onstage persona has gone from a rather quiet but incredibly talented performer to a brazen, fully fledged madman with a touch of lothario thrown in for good measure."

He performed in the UK and Europe and recorded his latest album Coal Fired Man in Berlin for Rhythm Bomb Records. In March 2013, Ezra Lee and his band opened, and were the backing band, for the "Queen of Rockabilly", Wanda Jackson, on her six date Australian tour.

2014 saw Ezra move to Melbourne, Victoria and along with former drummer Shaun 'Havoc' Lees, formed the new band, Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band, which also features Mark McGurgan on sax, Kevin Spiers on guitar and Pete Mavric on double bass. In 2015, Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band have recorded a debut self-titled album, which features Alison Ferrier on fiddle and Shane Riley on pedal steel guitar, set for limited release in Australia in August and released by Rhythm Bomb Records in November 2015.

Amnplify's Gary Bradshaw felt their set in April was:

"songs best described as Americana... Or Rockabilly... Or Blues... You know what, I don't really have a pigeon hole that this band will fit into" and that "the tunes and music style is very infectious. It is hard to watch the band's enthusiasm for what they are playing, as well as listen to well-constructed tunes, and not get sucked into having a good time."

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