Boasting a newly invigorated and streamlined configuration, The Black Lillies announced today that they will begin work on a new studio album, their fifth, with producer Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Willie Nelson) in January. Recording will take place at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC and the album will be released this summer on Thirty Tigers.
With four albums under their belts, The Black Lillies have been a mainstay on radio and album sales charts, promoting each release in the blue-collar tradition: by hitting the highway, averaging 175 gigs per year. That road-warrior work ethic has become as integral to the band’s success as founder Cruz Contreras’ songwriting, taking the band from coast to coast, border to border, and even country to country. And they have racked up accolades as easily as the miles on their Sprinter, winning praise from outlets including American Songwriter, Rolling Stone, NPR, CMT, Wall Street Journal and Billboard. The Black Lillies have enthralled audiences at festivals including Bonnaroo Music + Arts, New Orleans Jazz Fest, MerleFest, Stagecoach, CMA Fest & Fan Fair, and Pickathon. Equally at home on theatre stages and in rock clubs, they were one of the first independent bands to play the Grand Ole Opry and have since returned dozens of times – sharing that stage with big-budget bands and major-label mainstreamers.
After a major lineup change in 2016, bassist/vocalist Sam Quinn joined the fold. A musician with his own cult following due to his role as one half of the driving force behind indie folk darlings the everybodyfields as well as his solo work, he initially signed on to fill in for four shows … but the chemistry was undeniable, and he stayed. Soon after, guitar player/vocalist Dustin Schaefer, fresh off a stint with Micky and the Motorcars and a singer/songwriter in his own right, jumped into the mix. And suddenly, the group went from a band with one songwriter to a band with three – plus a drummer, longtime member Bowman Townsend, who helps with song arrangements.
The quartet has spent the majority of 2017 working on new material that builds upon their foundation of strong roots rock and redefines the group’s sound. Lush, layered three-part harmonies float over the funky edge of double electric guitar and keys to create lyric-driven melodies with a rock n’ roll sensibility. Contreras and Quinn, with an occasional assist from Schaefer, have debuted rough sketches of the new material via weekly Facebook Live broadcasts from the road while on tour, dubbed “The Sprinter Sessions.”
Grammy nominated producer and engineer Candiloro has joined the band on the road for their last tour of 2017 in order to capture the infectious energy of their live performance as they move into pre-production of the new album. Candiloro, who has also received Emmy recognition for his work with The Eagles on their “Live From Melbourne” broadcast, honed his skills with such acts as Courtney Love, Luscious Jackson and R.E.M. before working with Ryan Adams during the period that included the albums Rock n’ Roll, Easy Tiger, Follow the Lights, and Vol III/IV. He served as the producer of those albums as well as joining The Cardinals as piano player for those record tours. Jamie is renowned for creating albums that showcase the character of an artist while incorporating unusual textures and sounds into the fabric of the recording. His background as a multi-instrumentalist enhances his ability to get musicians’ best performances and shape the sound of his productions.
Candiloro and the band plan to continue pre-production through mid-January, and will record in Echo Mountain’s storied Church studio through February. A fan funding and pre-order campaign will launch in late January.