Donny Lee continues to put in work... and some overtime in Nashville.
The Fort Saskatchewan resident spends half of his year in the States playing for travellers in the music city.
"It's a unique audience every single day. Tourists in for three, four days at a time and then they go on out. You've got people people that are raring to go. 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., the music never stops."
Lee's start in the southern music scene was nothing short of interesting. He was a paid extra on season one of Nashville and asked to do an audition for a singing part, which he never ended up getting. While auditioning, the right people were watching and he scored an opportunity to play at one of the most prestigious establishments, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
His very first show was a four hour acoustic gig alone and then four hours with a band, something he says is not uncommon. Lee plays over 200 times a year in the States.
"Every single minute I do it, I love it. It's an amazing thing and I never take it for granted."
He told MIX 107 there are over 1,000 people a week looking for his job. Bands dont get paid either, but make money out of a tip jug.
"When you're down on Lower Broadway and you're playing for four hours, you better learn really quick how to capture an audience and hold them," added Lee.
Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places and John Denver's Country Roads remain two of the most requested songs. But anything and everything is on the table. Usually, Lee and his band learn on the go.
As far as celebrity run-ins, Lee and his wife, Shauna, had dinner next to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith recently visited one of his clubs. Kid Rock also makes frequent appearences.
Aside from Tootsie's, if you're traveling to Nashville you can also find Lee at Honky Tonk Central (same owners). If you're looking for something a little closer, Lee plays all your country favourites at the Shell Theatre on Sept.29.