The Black Lillies

Born in the rumbling cab of a stone truck and aged in the oak of Tennessee’s smoky night haunts, The Black Lillies have quickly risen to the forefront of the Americana scene. 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.

In April 2009, The Black Lillies released Whiskey Angel, their debut recording, which was recorded live in Cruz’s living room. The album received rave reviews and appeared on multiple “Best of 2009″ lists across the country, winning the Independent Music Award for Best Album, Americana. The band’s current album, 100 Miles of Wreckage, has been nominated for multiple awards and spent more than five months on the Americana radio Top 40 charts – four of them in the top 20 – once again proving that a band with this much spirit can break through traditional industry boundaries to achieve success without the constraints of a major label.

Highlights have included stops at festivals including Bonnaroo Music + Arts, Pickathon, CMA Festival & Fan Fair, Americana Music Festival, Four Corners Folk Festival and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion; appearances on National Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, four separate PBS concert specials, and in June 2011, the band’s debut on the Grand Ole Opry – which they have since played fifteen times.

The Black Lillies continue to tour non-stop, and without a doubt, they’ll soon be appearing in a town near you. That’s a relative term, of course, but trust us on this – they’re worth the drive, however far it is, because you’ll leave feeling like you’ve witnessed an old-fashion Southern tent revival. These songs will haunt your thoughts long after the curtain closes, rattling through your head like a crooked screen door slaps against its frame when a storm is coming.

Lydia Loveless

Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, the 25-year-old Lydia Loveless was raised on a family farm in Coshocton, Ohio—a small weird town with nothing to do but make music. With a dad who owned a country music bar, Loveless often woke up with a house full of touring musicians scattered on couches and floors. She has turned this potential nightmare scenario (eww....touring musicians smell...) into a wellspring of creativity.
When she got older, in the time-honored traditions of teenage rebellion, she turned her back on these roots, moved to the city (Columbus, OH) and immersed herself in the punk scene, soaking up the musical and attitudinal influences of everyone from Charles Bukowski to Richard Hell to Hank III.

Loveless's Bloodshot debut album Indestructible Machine combined heady doses of punk rock energy and candor with the country classicism she was raised on and just can’t shake; it was a gutsy and unvarnished mash-up. It channeled ground zero-era Old 97s (with whom she later toured) but the underlying bruised vulnerability came across like Neko Case’s tuff little sister. Indestructible Machine possesses a snotty irreverence and lyrical brashness that’s an irresistible kick in the pants.
On her second Bloodshot album Somewhere Else, released after a few 7" singles and an EP, Loveless was less concerned with chasing approval – she scrapped an entire album’s worth of material before writing the set – and more focused on fighting personal battles of longing and heartbreak, and the aesthetic that comes along with them. While her previous album was described as “hillbilly punk with a honky-tonk heart” (Uncut), this one couldn’t be so quickly shoehorned into neat categorical cubbyholes. No, things were different this time around—Loveless and her band collectively dismissed the genre blinders and sonic boundaries that came from playing it from a safe, familiar place. Creatively speaking, ifIndestructible Machine was an all-night bender, Somewhere Else was the forlorn twilight of the next day, when that creeping nostalgia has you looking back for someone, something, or just... anything.

2016's Real is one of those exciting records where you sense an artist truly hitting their stride, that their vision is both focused and expansive, and that their talent brims with a confident sense of place, execution and exploration. Whether you've followed Lydia's career forever, like us, or if you are new to her ample game, Real is gonna grab your ears.
On her first two Bloodshot albums, there were fevered comparisons to acknowledged music icons like Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, Replacements, and more. She's half this, half that, one part something else. We hate math. But, now Real and Lydia Loveless are reference points of their own. Genre-agnostic, Lydia and her road-tightened band pull and tease and stretch from soaring, singalong pop gems, roots around the edges to proto-punk. There are many sources, but the album creates a sonic center of gravity all its own.
Always a gifted writer with a lot to say, Lydia gives the full and sometimes terrifying, sometimes ecstatic force of the word. Struggles between balance and outburst, infectious choruses fronting emotional torment are sung with a sneer, a spit, or a tenderness and openness that is both intensely personal and universally relatable. It is, as the title suggests, real.
Lydia Loveless has toured with artists such as Old 97's, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Iron & Wine, Scott H. Biram, and the Supersuckers. Her music has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR, Pitchfork, SPIN, Stereogum, Chicago Tribune, and more.

Loveless penned an original song for the 2015 film I Smile Back, starring Sarah Silverman, and was the subject of the 2016 documentary Who Is Lydia Loveless?, directed by Gorman Bechard.

Levee Drivers

Levee Drivers' music embodies the sounds of old country souls being reborn into tomorrow's rock. Their music is a modern take on the story-telling of Johnny Cash, driven by early country and blues roots with a startling vocal rendition likened to a cross of Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams. Levee Drivers embrace an eclectic mix of sound that engages listeners of all ages and across many genres. They were named "Best of Philly Rising" 2007 by World Cafe Live. Levee Drivers also became the winners of the 2009 Beta Hi-Fi Festival hosted by World Cafe Live, a multi-night music competition with voting by the audience and a panel of judges. In 2010, Levee Drivers won the Deli Magazine "Best Philly Emerging Artist Poll" and came in 9th in the overall contest and were up again for the 2011 "Best Philly Emerging Artist". And recently in 2013, took home the Tri-State Indie Music Award for "Best Indie/Folk Americana Band" in the Tri-State Area.

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