Born in the rumbling cab of a stone truck and aged in the oak of Tennessee’s smoky night haunts, The Black Lillies have come to the forefront of the Americana scene in little more than a year. Founded by multi instrumentalist and vocalist Cruz Contreras (co-founder of Robinella and the CCstringband), The Black Lillies have created their own unique brand of country, roots, rock and blues via Appalachia. The group, formed in 2008, also includes electric guitar and pedal steel whiz Tom Pryor and drummer Jamie Cook, both formerly of the everybodyfields. Bassist Robert Richards and vocalist Trisha Gene Brady round out the lineup.
In April 2009, The Black Lillies released Whiskey Angel, their debut recording. The album was recorded live in Cruz’s living room by Sparklehorse drummer Scott Minor, and features Billy Contreras on fiddle. The album received rave reviews and appeared on multiple “Best of 2009” lists across the country. The band is currently working on their follow-up album, which will be released in Fall of 2010.
The Black Lillies toured extensively throughout the past year, with highlights including appearances at the Bonnaroo Music + Arts Festival, Bristol’s Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the live radio broadcasts of WDVX’s Tennessee Shines: Live from the Bijou Theatre and WSM’s Music City Roots: Live from the Loveless Café Barn, and a six-week national tour that kicked off in front of a packed house at the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music.” They are scheduled to play a number of festivals this summer, including Pagosa Folk n’ Bluegrass, Rhythm n’ Blooms, Pickathon, Four Corners Folk Festival, the Americana Music Association Festival & Conference, and Bristol Rhythm n’ Roots Reunion.
The Black Lillies have developed their own style of Americana music in true East Tennessee fashion. They may not fit any industry norm, but where they’re from, that’s a good thing.
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