Live Review: The Black Lillies in Asheville, 11/30/2018

The Black Lillies landed at The Grey Eagle in Asheville last Friday night.

Based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, equipped with new music from their latest album and returning to the site of its recording, The Black Lillies crossed the border and took to the stage at The Grey Eagle in Asheville before an energetic crowd. Behind a revamped lineup, who recently released their new album, Stranger to Me, with all of the contributions coming from each of the current members and producer Jamie Candiloro, the band entertained many long time fans and undoubtedly registered some new ones with their performance.

Ahead of The Black Lillies, Asheville’s own Alex Krug Combo performed a short set backed by her band. Short of the full six-piece combo, Krug and those who accompanied her seemed right at home on the local stage.

Cruz Contreras (lead vocals, guitar, keys) has done a wonderful job revamping the band and the new album reflects influences, in addition to full on contributions, from each of the other members. Sam Quinn (bass, vocals) takes the lead on a few songs and Contreras seemed to enjoy playing along when giving way to the barefoot bassist.

Opposite, Dustin Schaefer (electric guitar, vocals) commands the spotlight in his own right with talented solos and impressive riffs while drummer Bowman Townsend keeps everyone in line, tying everything together while keeping the rhythm.

The group performed some nice harmonies, highlighted in ‘Earthquake’, while also revisiting a few older favorites in ‘Ramblin’ Boy‘, ‘Two Hearts Down‘ and the pleasant surprise appearance of ‘Shepherd’s Song‘ on the set list.

An entertaining band that has been seasoned by experiences on the road both before joining forces and as a unit since coming together in 2016, it’s hard to believe the current members have only the one album to their collective names.

Here’s to many more.

The Black Lillies: Ready to Bloom

The Black Lillies are ready to bloom with a new lineup and album on the horizon…

A mix between the blurred lines of red dirt, folk, blues, and Americana music is where The Black Lillies are planted with their unique sound and lyrical storytelling. Founder and lead singer Cruz Contreras has been the engine behind this group since their formation but now shares songwriting with current band members after a significant lineup shift in 2016.

The current four piece group of Contreras, Bowman Townsend, Sam Quinn and Dustin Schaefer continue to impress and may currently be putting together the best album to date for this band. The Black Lillies are nearing a decade on the road with their fifth album currently in production and are continually putting on entertaining performances night after night.

Playing festivals from Bonnaroo, Mile 0 and Merlefest to everything in between, the group has gathered a significant fan base with their amazing harmonies and patented sound. The Black Lillies have also played The Grand Ole Opry dozens of times, becoming one of the very first independent groups to fulfill that honor.

The band just wrapped their second session at Echo Mountain Studios here in Asheville, North Carolina where they continued work on the latest album. Once completed it will be the first project from The Black Lillies to be entirely formed from the work of its members. No guest appearances and no outside input other than from producer Jamie Candiloro.

Specifically selected for his style of production, Candiloro has a track record in music that speaks for itself. Having produced or engineered for Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, The Eagles, R.E.M. and Courtney Love to name a few, the process was difficult but ultimately it was determined that Candiloro would be tagged as the producer.

Cruz and the band are walking everyone through the entire process over at Pledge Music, where fans can contribute to bringing The Black Lillies fifth album to fruition. In addition to getting a behind the scenes look at how a record goes from an idea, to lyrics, then songs, actual music, live performances and studio changes – fans can also select to receive some awesome merchandise or experiences based on their level of giving.

Some items, such as the whiskey tumblers, are already sold out completely but everything from a digital download of the new record to being a roadie or having your own private show remains available.

The Black Lillies, Contreras, and all members of this group have always put their fans front and center and it shows in their support. Already at nearly 30-percent funded after just a little over one week, the newest album is gaining significant momentum.

Scheduled to be released in the fall of 2018, The Black Lillies are currently riding that wave through hard work, dedication to their craft and a continued appreciation for those that are listening.