MP3 The Black Lillies - 100 Miles of Wreckage
This file is no longer available on Tradebit.
11 MP3 Songs in this album (51:08) !
Related styles: Rock: Americana, Country: Alt-Country, Mood: Brooding
People who are interested in Avett Brothers Johnny Cash Townes Van Zandt should consider this download.
âWreckageâ in bloom: The Black Lillies return with a new album and renewed determination
By Steve Wildsmith, The Daily Times
Thanksgiving, 2009: The Black Lillies almost came to an end in Fargo, N.D.
After bursting out of the gate with the phenomenal album âWhiskey Angel,â the band led by Cruz Contreras found itself two weeks into a six-week cross-country tour. Fraught with challenges and hardships, the band â Contreras, pedal steel player/guitarist Tom Pryor, drummer Jamie Cook, bass player Taylor Coker and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Leah Gardner â holed up in a Lutheran center and plotted the next move.
For Contreras, there was never any doubt. Heâd given up everything â literally â to make the band work. Heâd built it on the ashes of a marriage to East Tennessee songbird Robinella, whom heâd divorced two years prior. Heâd poured all of the heartache and self-loathing into the songs on âWhiskey Angel,â and in emerging as a new force on the local music scene, he was ready to seize the opportunity for something bigger.
After years of toiling as the initials to his ex-wifeâs project, he had come into his own, and despite the frozen landscape outside the window and the flagging spirits of those who had accompanied him that far, he knew what his decision would be.
âWe were about to turn around and come home,â he recalled over a recent breakfast interview at Longâs Drug Store in Knoxvilleâs Bearden neighborhood. âBut I was determined. I had nothing to go back to â Iâd literally given away everything. I sat everything I owned on the sidewalk outside my apartment in North Knoxville, and it was gone in an hour. Iâd given away my house, literally.
âI knew it would be a major defeat if we didnât persevere through that, and I told everyone, âIâm not going to beg. Iâm going on, even if I have to do it by myself.ââ
Itâs not hard to imagine the scenario â those eyes, heavy-lidded as always but brimming with the fevered touch of a man on a crusade â¦ Pryor, nodding nonchalantly â¦ Cook, loyal to the vision. Gardner, the vocalist around whom Contreras had built the Lilliesâ male-female harmonies, opted out, however; Coker would follow a few months later.
Contreras hated to see them go â¦ but when it comes to The Black Lillies, he answers to a higher calling. Friendship means a great deal, but the music means more. These days, it means everything, and so the band rolled on, making do and adjusting to the loss after dropping Gardner off in Denver. In the months to come, the band would add local singer-songwriter Trisha Gene Brady and bass player Robert Richards to the fold. A sophomore album, â100 Miles of Wreckage,â would be recorded.
This weekend, The Black Lillies celebrate the release of that album with a show at The Bijou Theatre. At press time, only a few tickets remained; by the time the show begins on Saturday night, chances are the band will be playing to a sold-out crowd.
Itâs been a tumultuous journey, to say the least. But when the house lights dim and the band begins to play, Contreras may feel for the next couple of hours something akin to contentment.
It wonât last. For a guy like him, it never does; the road calls or the studio beckons or the muse demands to be let out. Ghosts of the past and specters of the future are never far from his thoughts, and the choices heâs made and will make are things he constantly second-guesses.
All save for one â the direction in which heâs headed.
âThe further I go down this path, the more certain that itâs what Iâm meant to do,â he said. âFor years, I felt guilty for playing music, like I wasnât being responsible. I felt like I should get a 9-to-5 job. But thatâs just not me. I just see it as the one constant in my life at this point. I mean, Iâve been doing it since I was 6, and itâs the one thing I could always do well.â
Finding his own path
For years, Contreras was known as the bandleader for the CCstringband, his ex-wifeâs backing group. He produced the bandâs albums and served as something of a de facto business manager until a major record label came calling; the band flirted with national fame for a while, even appearing on âLate Night with Conan OâBrien,â before moving to the Dualtone label.
The marriage would come to an end before a follow-up to âSolace for the Lonelyâ was recorded. High-profile by East Tennessee standards, the couple went through an awkward period of reestablishing themselves independent of one another. For Contreras, doing so seemed to take a bigger toll. During the summer of 2007, he got that 9-to-5 job driving a truck and took some time off from playing music, popping up periodically to take part in a jazz trio with Coker and keyboard player Mike Seal. At first, the group stuck to instrumentals, but Contreras felt something was lacking.
âMike was always encouraging me to sing, and it felt like it needed vocals, so I learned two Doc Watson songs and one Gillian Welch tune,â he said. âWe were playing at (now-closed) Cha Cha, and I remember there was a birthday party there one night, and there were all of these black ladies at the table, and they asked me to sing âHappy Birthday.â
âI was really nervous, thinking, âThese black ladies are not going to want to hear me sing!â But luckily I had Mike and Taylor playing with me, and theyâre the smoothest of musicians, so I just walked up to the table and crooned it out. And they just ate it up! They melted, and I remember while I was singing that I thought, âIâm doing it â¦ and theyâre not throwing anything! I think they actually like it!ââ
Gardner, whom Contreras had known since his days at the University of Tennessee, was another supporter pushing him to sing. When the two teamed up for a memorial service and later for an off-the-cuff jam at Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville, she pushed him to showcase his vocals in addition to his mandolin prowess. He started learning more songs, and eventually the group billed as Cruz Contreras and Friends would become The Black Lillies, taking its name from a song that would end up on âWhiskey Angel.â
A long road of âWreckageâ
Making that first album, he recalled was a completely different process than recording â100 Miles of Wreckage.â
âIt was uncharted territory then,â he said. âThere were no fans, and I really just made an album then to prove something to myself. With this one, weâve had a couple of years to play and to get fans, and now there are all kinds of expectations.â
None, however, stacked up to the expectations Contreras put on himself. After Gardner left the tour in Denver, the last few weeks saw The Black Lillies gain national traction. The dynamic changed, with Cook taking over the higher harmonies, and the remaining four members solidified into a cohesive unit. With Cook as the rock-steady anchor and Pryorâs wizardry on a number of instruments, Contreras felt unfettered when it came to singing and playing, and the Americana/bluegrass basis of The Black Lillies would take some beautiful detours into a number of realms â Southern rock, country, folk and other roots genres that have long held a special place in his heart.
âWhen we got back, we decided to record with Scott Minor (drummer for the critically acclaimed indie rock band Sparklehorse, who moved to Knoxville a few years ago),â Contreras said. âWe were working on three-part harmonies with me, Jamie and Tom, and it was working great. It sounded great live, and we wanted that same vibe in the studio.â
Tragedy struck during the process when Sparklehorse founder and mastermind Mark Linkous committed suicide behind Minorâs house. Although Linkous wasnât involved in the recording project, he had become a fixture around the studio, and Contreras said heâd grown to view the musician as something of a mentor.
âHe was very studio â patient and very focused with his art,â Contreras said. âWhen he committed suicide, it brought the whole project to a halt. It gave me time to reevaluate everything. When a big event like that happens, it really makes you put things in perspective.
âWhen he passed, it made me think that I should really aspire to that same standard. And I realized that if Iâm not happy with what we were doing, then I shouldnât release it.â
He canât put his finger on what it was about those early recordings that was dissatisfying â only that, upon listening to it the songs felt flat and lifeless.
âIt has to be compelling,â he said. âWhatâs going to make me want to listen to it again? And if nothing is there to do that, why should I expect anyone else to want to do that?â
The band reconvened with Minor in July of last year, re-recording the tracks for â100 Miles of Wreckageâ and putting together an out-of-the-park follow-up. Brady was added near the end of the recording process, but as a friend of the band since the beginning, sheâd already added some vocals to the new songs and never quite left.
Her sass and Southern charm are a contrast to Gardnerâs demure demeanor, and that attitude gives many of the new songs a dose of attitude â from the dangerous on âTwo Hearts Down,â the opening track, to the wildcat cries that flavor âThree in the Morninâ.â In person, sheâs both laid-back and a firecracker, a fun addition whose smile adds to the bandâs personality without upsetting the dynamic Contreras relies upon to steer the ship.
in partnership with CDbaby
More Files From This User
- MP3 El Puma De Sinaloa - Me invito la noche
- MP3 Harmonik - Lets Go!
- MP3 Haymaker - In For A Pound
- MP3 Hans Engel - Wunderwelten
- MP3 Hillfolk Noir - Skinny Mammys Revenge
Mp3 Barak Hill - This Life I Love
Mp3 Dangermuffin - Emancee
Mp3 Dangermuffin - Beermuda
Mp3 This Way - Goodbye Forever
Mp3 The Steel Wheels - The Steel Wheels, Live At Goose Creek
Mp3 Stranger Still - Road To Home
Mp3 3 Penny Acre - Highway 71
Mp3 Chris Q. Murphy - Fiendish Thingies
Tradebit is the worlds largest marketplace for digital files, with over 2.5 million satisfied customers and millions of digital products. Online for over 12 years, Tradebit is the best place to find files like music, video tutorials, repair manuals, and more. If you're curious about how much our users love Tradebit, read reviews from real buyers!