Why This Australian Is Excited About The BlackLillies

Read all you need to know about Knoxville’s The Black Lillies

By Rob Dickens

The Black Lillies 2013 publicity


The Black Lillies is a band I have followed for not that long but for me they typify the best of the Americana sound – a fresh, original, roots-based outfit that has had me joyfully listening and singing around the house for quite a while.  The band’s last two albums 100 Miles of Wreckage and Runaway Freeway Blues hold a special place in my heart (and CD collection).  I could not recommend this music more.  With some friends, I am traveling to the music nation in September for the Americana Music Association Awards in Nashville.  And God bless The Black Lillies, because they announced their tour dates quite a while ago and now we are traveling to Memphis to see them at the historic Levitt Shell on September 12.

It will be at the end of a long and no doubt arduous tour.  Warning to The Black Lillies’ band members – there will be a little group of Aussies up the front who have come a way to see you – we know it’ll be worth it.


110 Miles of

Some background would be in order.  The Black Lillies formed in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2009 and released independently their debut Whiskey Angel that year.  The album quickly gained positive critical attention as well as radio air time and led to a second release in 2010 – 100 Miles of Wreckage which was funded through fan sponsorship sold through the band’s website.  This second album has spent many months on the Americana radio Top 40 charts.

The band’s front man – singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Cruz Contreras has an interesting story to tell.  He is the man who loaned out his initials to Robinella and the CCstringband who had a minor hit (“Man Over”) and an appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 2003.

But things didn’t work out and Cruz almost gave it all up.  Robinella and the CCstringband split and so did Contreras and his wife who was also in that band.  According to the band’s official website “Cruz lost his wife, his home, his way”.  He spent the summer of 2008 driving a truck, but by the end of that year had the skeleton of Whiskey Angel ready to go.

After filtering through several lineup changes, Cruz assembled a crackerjack team of players to add to his distinctive and charismatic voice – guitarist and pedal steel player Tom Pryor, drummer and percussionist Jamie Cook, bassist Robert Richards, and vocalist Trisha Gene Brady.  Great lyrics, effortless vocals, well-crafted and executed arrangements.  I’ve been playing this one for quite a while.

Check ’em out

For more information on the band, go HERE.



Read all you need to know about Knoxville’s The Black Lillies

Read all you need to know about Knoxville’s The Black Lillies

Read all you need to know about Knoxville’s The Black Lillies


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Author: Rob Dickens

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