Ah, lessons learned: I can’t go to a show, take several hundred photographs, sort through, select and edit the keepers and get it to you by early the next morning. So, here’s a little belated installment of Saturday Sounds. I missed Electric Darling because of other First Friday obligations, but since I’d photographed them last week, there’s not much photographic loss – only my loss at not hearing that phenomenal band, again. Watch out for them.
I made it to hear Margo and the Pricetags, which is always a treat. I first heard them last spring at Rhythm n’ Blooms and here’s what I had to say at the time: “It’s real country music, she’s really cute and she covered Bob Dylan. Not much to complain about there. The band and the vocals are all exceptional and her stage presence just adds to the appeal. It was good old fashioned honky tonk music that Hank would approve. Great set.”
The only thing that has changed from the description above is that she has caught some wide-spread attention and will release her debut album on Jack White’s Third Man Records next spring. It’s interesting that Jack White, who I respect in all his incarnations, would be such a contributor to keeping the country music flame alive. His work with Loretta Lynn on “Van Lear Rose,” is excellent and I can’t wait to hear his collaboration with Margo and the band. See more photographs from her set on the Inside of Knoxville Facebook page in this album.
The Black Lillies, meanwhile, were celebrating the release of their new CD, “Hard to Please.” Featuring a bit of the Black Lillies sound you’ve come to know and love, it also features some true departures and experiments in new directions. Just released yesterday, the album includes a largely re-vamped lineup. Behind founding member Cruz Contreras and long-time vocalist Trish Gene Brady are newer members Bowman Townsend, Jonathan Keeney, Mike Seal and Sam Quinn.
Musically the band is superb. Tom Pryor’s loss on guitar and steel guitar was a blow, but the sound has not suffered. They continue to work their same Americana music, but some of the new songs venture into some previously unexplored territory. Soulful ballads, “Mercy” and “Fade,” performed by Cruz are among my favorites on the disc. Trisha Gene’s superb vocals on the R&B infused “The First Time,” sounds like a radio hit, to me. “Forty Days,” with its boogie-woogie piano intro is raucous fun from start to end and promises to be a concert favorite.
The show, itself, was excellent fun. The crowd, kept smaller for the opening artists by a steady drizzle began to swell as the Lillies took the stage. By the time they were underway, Market Square was covered with a jubilant crowd singing along to many of the songs. It was the first show in which I’ve seen a jumbotron atop the stage, which was pretty cool and really was helpful from the back. Cash joined his father, Cruz, on stage for a song doing a bit of buck dancing and following that up with a stint on keyboards in which he did an excellent job. Certainly a highlight.
The show ended with a surprising version of Buffalo Springfield’s, “For What It’s Worth.” The crowd enjoyed singing along and I was struck by the many different visions of America that the crowd probably channeled as they sang along with the angry, disillusioned song about our country. Still, most people likely just enjoyed the sing-along and didn’t think to hard about the contents. It’s worth saying the crowd was filled with friends in every direction. I cannot express enough how much this community comes together and supports each other. It’s family.
Check out the new album. It’s in stores and available for download on itunes. I’ll let the photographs tell the rest of the story. There will be many more available soon on the Inside of Knoxville Facebook Page.