Tag Archives: The Black Lillies

Country Exclusive’s Essential Songs of 2015

I thought long and hard about this, and since Country Exclusive did not come into existence until halfway through the year, and therefore did not do as many reviews as other sites, I am not going to name a 2015 Song of the Year. There are surely songs that I did not review which would make this list if I had reviewed them; in fact, a few on this list were not covered here. As for the album list, I will have nominees and an Album of the Year, as I did cover most of the essential albums of 2015. But here is a list of songs from 2015 that I feel everyone should definitely check out! If you have overlooked any of them, please correct this now. They are listed alphabetically, and not by any sort of rank.

Essential Songs of 2015

1. “After the Storm Blows Through” by Maddie & Tae
2. “Ashes” by Lindi Ortega
3. “Be my Baby” by Whitney Rose and Raul Malo
4. “The Bird Hunters” by Turnpike Troubadours
5. “Bienville” by Jason Boland & the Stragglers
6. “The Blade” by Ashley Monroe
7. “Bound to Roam” by The Black Lillies
8. “Bramble Rose” by Don Henley, featuring Mick Jagger and Miranda Lambert
9. “Burning House” by Cam
10. “Cost of Living” by Don Henley, featuring Merle Haggard
11. “David” by Cody Jinks
12. “Dixie” by Ashley Monroe
13. “El Dorado” by Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen
14. “Fall out of Love” by Turnpike Troubadours
15. “Ghost Town” by Sam Outlaw
16. “Good ‘ol Boys’ Club” by Kacey Musgraves
17. “Half Moon” by Lindi Ortega
18. “Has Anybody Ever Told You” by Ashley Monroe
19. “Heartland Bypass” by Jason Boland & the Stragglers
20. “House on a Hill” by Kasey Chambers
21. “If the Devil Don’t Want Me” by Ashley Monroe
22. “Just Some Things” by Jamie Lin Wilson, featuring Wade Bowen
23. “Knives of New Orleans” by Eric Church
24. “Long Drive Home” by Turnpike Troubadours
25. “Need for Wanting” by Courtney Patton
26. “Oh Grace” by Kasey Chambers
27. “Pageant Material” by Kacey Musgraves
28. “Record Year” by Eric Church
29. “Roots and Wings” by Miranda Lambert
30. “Shut up and Fish” by Maddie & Tae
31. “So This is Life” by Courtney Patton
32. “Somebody to Love” by Kacey Musgraves
33. “Something More than Free” by Jason Isbell
34. “Speed Trap Town” by Jason Isbell
35. “Standards” by Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen
36. “Suffer in Peace” by Tyler Farr
37. “Traveller” by Chris Stapleton
38. “Too Late to Save Me” by Kasey Chambers
39. “War of Art” by Courtney Patton
40. “When I stop Dreaming” by Don Henley, featuring Dolly Parton

There are many more, but I had to stop the list at some point!

Album Review: The Black Lillies–Hard to Please

Rating: 9/10

Well, credit to Derek of
Country Perspective
because until he reviewed this album, I had never heard of The Black Lillies. However, this is their fourth studio album, and they are certainly a group worth checking out. Blending country, rock, and blues, they have been a staple in Americana since 2009 and have formed a unique sound that many people will enjoy.

The album’s title track and opener, “Hard to Please,” is a rocking track about a woman who is, well, hard to please. The harmonies between frontman Cruz Contreras and Trisha Gene Brady work well in this song, and the rock guitars add a nice touch. “That’s the Way it Goes Down” is another rocking song–it’s a song about forgetting our mistakes and looking forward. Once again, I am struck by the harmonies, a fact which I will stop repeating, as it is consistent throughout the album. The guitar solo in this song really adds to it. “Mercy” is a beautiful song about a couple who admit they simply need each other. “It ain’t easy for a grown man to confide that I need your love, flesh and blood, that’s why I’m calling, calling on you”–what a line. This song blends country, blues, and gospel into a unique sound that adds even more to the track. It’s definitely a standout on the album.

Trisha Gene Brady sings lead on “The First Time,” a heartbreak song about a man who continues to let her down. Trisha should take the lead on more songs, in my opinion–her bluesy voice is just incredible. The album turns decidedly more country at this point. “Bound to Roam” is an excellently written song about two lovers, Willie and Sarah; Willie is a rambler, and Sarah wants him to stop roaming and stay with her. The song tells the story, through their dialogue, of their last conversations and moments together. Everything about this song is excellent, from the vocals to the songwriting to the production; if you pick one song by this group to listen to, make it this one. “Dancin'” is another one of my favorites–here, a couple is seeking to rekindle their love by going dancing together. This song features a nice country beat and some great steel guitar. Speaking of steel guitar, you will find plenty of it on “Desire.” This is the third excellent track in a row–here, Cruz Contreras takes the lead and sings about a lost love, whom he clearly still keeps in his heart. Contreras sings, “Desire, oh desire, you can look away, but it still remains. You can’t hide that burning flame of desire.”

“Forty Days” takes the album back to a more upbeat, country rock feel. The band sings about forty days of touring on the road; it’s a fun song that is just pleasant to listen to. The piano in this song is excellent. There are better songs on Hard to Please, but this is one which I think will be enjoyed universally. “Broken Shore” was written by Contreras for his grandfather, who fought in Iwo Jima–it’s yet another excellently written song, and I can’t really do it justice with words. Contreras and Brady repeat the line, “Which way is heaven and which way is hell, it’s so hard to tell”–what a lyric. The instrumentation in this song is phenomenal, and if you had a shortage of mandolin or fiddle, you should listen to this track. Hard to Please closes with “Fade,” another well-written song in which the narrator is asking his love to promise him that she will not “fade away.” The piano works really well in this song, and it features more of those remarkable harmonies between Contreras and Brady.

Overall, I was really impressed by this album. Having never heard of The Black Lillies, I can say that this album has made me a fan. This album blends country, rock, blues, and even gospel at times, and the band excels at all of these styles. Aside from the unique sound, many of the songs have truly excellent lyrics. It is not often that an album or group is equally impressive in sound and songwriting quality, but The Black Lillies have achieved this with Hard to Please. This is definitely an album worth many listens.

Listen to Album