Monday, July 3, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Lillie Mae "Forever and Then Some"

Lillie Mae
Forever and Then Some
(Third Man Records)

Legendary music journalist,
the late, great Lester Bangs
once was credited as saying
that we don't choose our
music, our music chooses
us. That theory holds true
quite often in my world.

Simply put, I didn't see it coming — I just opened the right email from the right publicist on the right day, and their it was — a download of the newly-released debut from singer / songwriter and fiddle phenom, Lillie Mae Rische. Hmm, as if the music chose me.

Truth be told, the bar is set so low for what's peddled these days as "new country," it's almost an insult for Rische's record to be slapped with such a pedestrian label. However, given the true blue, down-home warmth and charm of her heartfelt music  songs glossed gloriously with fiddles, banjos, mandolins and all, the layman label is almost understandable. Kinda.

Dripping with Dwight Yoakam-style authenticity and peppered with Dolores O'Riordan-type mystique, the 11-song collection is perhaps the most uniquely engaging set of the current summer season. Producer and modern-day music messiah, Jack White, hand-crafted the record masterfully, from the overall Emmylou-meets-Lindley sheen to the "Love is a Rose"-flavored back-ups and Ringo-inspired drum tracks.

On a record packed with deeply moving highlights, "Honky Tonks and Taverns," "Wash Me Clean" and "Loaner" are among the standout tracks so honest and pure they'll give ya chills, while brimming with such beauty, they'll also bring ya to tears.

But I'm curious — just what did the snake do to her, anyway?

-Christopher Long
(July 2017)

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