Lael’s passion for drums began because of his father, Larry, who is a great rudimentary snare player that played with the Texas Aggie Band as well as the Davis Demon Drum Core, based out of Circleville, Ohio. In addition to snare, Larry also played trap set for groups in high school and college. Larry’s love of and history with the instrument planted the seed in Lael that continues to grow.
Lael started his training at age 11 by joining both his grade school jazz band and orchestra. He soon began private lessons with an instructor whose roots were deep in jazz. It was also about this time he learned of his love for singing after joining the school choir. Drum, percussion and vocal groups filled his days in grade school and high school on the seacoast of NH, as well as his time spent at Eastern New Mexico University. Jazz bands, orchestras, choirs, jazz choirs, rock bands and even musical theater filled his days. During high school he auditioned for both All State choir and jazz band 3 years in a row, was accepted each time and given an honors chair twice. There was no doubt that music was his life’s calling.
While enrolled in the Music Performance Degree, at ENMU, Lael began playing regularly with a group who’s musical styles varied greatly, which is how he’s approached music ever since. After completing three years at ENMU, Lael decided to return to his home town in southern New Hampshire to pursue his career in music. Over the next 13 years, starting in 1997, Lael would play around the country in a variety of different bands whose styles included country, blues, rock, jazz, folk, reggae and jam.
After thousands of gigs, Lael was looking for the next step. It was in late 2010 that he made the decision to go back to school and further his knowledge of drums, percussion and singing at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. During this time he recorded full length albums with Byzantium (a folk group) and Jimmy Jax Pinchak Band (a blues/rock guitarist and actor) and the legendary Pete Anderson’s “Live at The Moose”, with whom toured the country and played 2 weekly residencies while living in LA. He also started his private lesson business during this time. Lael graduated from MI with an accredited music degree in March of 2013. Lael, his wife Amanda, and son Kairie, now live in the Nashville area, where he teaches and plays drums. Since moving to Nashville he’s been worked with blues guitarist RJ Ronquillo of Thompson Square, Reverie Lane and with the unbelievably talented, multi-instrumentalist, Jake Clayton, with whom he’s played most steadily with as Jake’s drummer and backing vocalist since the start of 2017.
ON HIS TIME WITH PETE ANDERSON:
Lael played for Grammy award winning guitarist/producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakum, Lucinda Williams, k.d. Lang & Roy Orbison, Tanya Tucker, The Meat Puppets and more) from 2013-2015 when they toured both nationally and internationally. “Pete was such a mentor to me”, Lael says. “It’s was an honor to play with such a country/blues legend! His music was inspiring and an absolute joy to play. Super roots’y blues/swing with the with a taste New Orleans here and there. Classic Americana stuff, but done only as he can!” In December of 2015 Pete released “Live at The Moose”, a live album Lael recorded with Pete a year prior which included keyboardist Luke Miller.
Lael was also Pete’s go to drummer for sessions at his studio. Most notable is his work with Heather Ballentine, who’s sexy country/swing and 50’s rockabilly songwriting is matched by her classic ‘pin-up girl’ look and an captivating stage presence.