Lee Kelly, also known as Leo Joseph
Kelly, hence ljkmusic, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at
the age of one, and with the assistance of his parents, Marygrace and
Leo P. Kelly, moved to Drexel Hill, Upper Darby Township, Delaware
County, PA. Lee was second born in a family of five children.
At the age of eighteen, after graduating from Monsignor Bonner High
School, Lee left Pennsylvania for the northern hills of Alabama and
Saint Bernard College where he majored in Secondary Education with a
teaching major in English and a teaching minor in Theology.
After graduating from college Lee taught school in Hamilton and
Putnam Counties, spent time in retail management, power plant
operating and yacht construction, and then moved on to retirement.
Lee grew up listening to AM top forty music (FM wasn't in use at the
time), mom's records, mostly big band music, and dad's favorite
While in college Lee interacted with other musicians, began playing
guitar and singing and started performing in public in a little
coffee house which occupied an old jail house in Cullman, Alabama.
Lee began teaching school in Jasper, Florida in the fall of 1970, and
attended his first Florida Folk Festival in White Springs in the
spring of 1971. Highly affected by the purity and sound of
traditional music, Lee directed his musical energy toward
Appalachian, Americana, and Irish folk music, and soon after
auditioned and was accepted to perform at the Florida Folk Festival.
This opened the door for great friendships and participation at folk
gatherings throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States.
At the Florida Folk Festival Lee became friends with Jean and Lee
Schilling from Cosby, Tennessee, two fine traditional Appalachian
folk singers, and along with many other talented people helped
establish The Folk Life Center of the Smokies located in Cosby, TN.
Over the past few years Lee has become an active musician in and
around Palatka and at times, Gainesville, Florida.
Lee's musical influences include Stephen Foster, The Clancy
Brothers, John Prine, Leon Redbone, Kris Kristopherson, The Carter
Family, Sparky Rucker, Pete Seeger, Mike and Peggy Seeger, Heddy
Ledbetter, Jim Faugno, Don Eberlin, Bobby MacMillan, Nick Hallman,
Mississippi John Hurt, Huddy Ledbetter, Jean and Lee Schilling, Otis
Redding, John McCutchen, Ernie Williams, Hank Williams (Sr.) and
Lee's performances include relationship songs--not necessarily love
songs, and will take you from traditional Irish, British and American
folk songs through sixties folk-rock and on to some current folk
music. He encourages audience participation and enjoys jams
with other musicians.
Lee has recently released his first album, a cd entitled “Jug O'
Punch” with the help of recording engineer Tom Buskirk of Garden
Recording Studio in Interlachen, Florida. This album is a
compilation of twelve Appalachian and Irish songs chosen as his
favorites from his forty years of performing.
Lee also produces wind
chimes, walking sticks, candle holders, and other items made from
bamboo that is grown at his residence.