Archive for the The Black Lillies Category

A Little Knox Music: Black Lillies on Tennessee Shines

Posted in Knoxville Music, Tennessee Shines, The Black Lillies on June 23, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Back again with another installment of “A Little Knox Music” …a brief look at new local music here in Knoxville. Today, we’ll focus on Cruz Contreras’ new project, The Black Lillies.

First, however, is an even briefer look at the artists the Black Lillies will share the stage with during Wednesday’s installment of Tennessee Shines.

Of course… our venerable host Jim Lauderdale will lead the festivities, as he does every month. And, as usual, Lauderdale will be joined by a strong collection of talent representing all corners of the Americana genre.

First up are The Grasscals… one of the hottest acts on the bluegrass scene today and winners of multiple Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association (SPBGMA) Awards. Songwriter Steve Forbert will also be there to share selections from his new album The Place and the Time. Forbert’s songwriting chops are so strong that he was hailed as “The Next Dylan” when his career started in the late ’70s. Rounding out the bill is veteran songwriter Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing,” “Angel of the Morning”) and his new collaborator Kendel Carson. It’s possibly one of the strongest Tennessee Shines Lineups so far.

The fourth act of the night is The Black Lillies, a recent addition to the Knoxville music scene, but one that is made up of several familiar faces. In addition to the aforementioned vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Cruz Contreras (Robinella & the C.C. String Band), the Black Lilles are composed of vocalist Leah Gardner, drummer Jamie Cook, steel player Tom Pryor, and bassist Jeff Woods…. all veterans of the Knoxville music scene.

Musically, the Black Lillies draw influence from several styles of American roots music including folk, bluegrass, and blues… even rock and roll. The electric blues/rock of “There’s Only One” stands side by side on the debut album Whiskey Angel with the country weeper “Goodbye Mama Blues” and the string band sound of the title track. Woods told the local independent newspaper, The Metro Pulse, that the album “touches on everything that Americana is. I don’t think there’s a lot left out as far as the canons of what popular music’s been for the last 50 years.”

I’d be hard pressed to describe the album any better than that.

I’ll leave you with a couple of tracks from Whiskey Angel that highlight the wide range of influences that can be found on the album. You can hear the Black Lillies perform on Tennessee Shines beginning Wednesday night at 7:00 on WDVX. The whole show will be broadcast live from Knoxville’s historic Bijou Theatre.

The Black Lillies: Whiskey Angel (Buy Album)
The Black Lillies: There’s Only One (Buy Album)