The Black Lillies are an Americana band from Knoxville, Tennessee that was founded in early 2009 by Cruz Contreras (formerly of Robinella and the CCstringband).Born in the rumbling cab of a stone truck and aged in the oak of Tennessee's smoky night haunts, The Black Lillies have quickly risen to the forefront of the Americana scene with their unique blend of country, roots, rock and blues via Appalachia.
Hailed by critics and fans alike, the band has appeared at festivals ranging from Bonnaroo and CMA Fan Fair to Pickathon and graced the stages of clubs and performing arts centers nationwide -- including, since their debut in June 2011, regular performances at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. The Black Lillies continue to tour non-stop, and without a doubt, they'll soon be appearing in a town near you. That's a relative term, of course, but trust us on this -- they're worth the drive, however far it is, because you'll leave feeling like you've witnessed an old-fashion Southern tent revival. These songs will haunt your thoughts long after the curtain closes, rattling through your head like a crooked screen door slaps against its frame when a storm is coming.
Other members include Tom Pryor on guitar/pedal steel and Jamie Cook on percussion (both formerly of The Everybodyfields), bassist Robert Richards and vocalist Trisha Gene Brady. Cruz plays guitar and mandolin as well as providing vocals and song writing. The Black Lillies music provides a unique sound with influences from rock, country, blues, bluegrass, and jazz.
The band's debut album, Whiskey Angel, was recorded in Cruz's living room and released in April 2009. It featured Billy Contreras on fiddle, Taylor Coker on bass, and Leah Gardner on backing vocals. Contreras wrote and arranged all of the songs on the album. It is deeply personal material, covering the fallout of his divorce from Robinella and the breakup of the band they shared. The album resonated strongly with listeners, and Whiskey Angel was ranked in several Best of 2009 lists in publications across the country.After Whiskey Angel they released their album "Black Lillies" The Black Lillies made an immediate impact on Knoxville's growing music scene and the band was selected to play the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival within weeks of releasing the album. They quickly signed a management and booking deal with Chyna Brackeen of Attack Monkey Productions and in October of that year, they launched their first national tour. The tour kicked off at the legendary Ryman Auditorium and the band played 38 shows in 40 days. Two additional national tours took place in 2010 and included appearances at festivals including Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Pickathon, Four Corners Folk Festival, Pagosa Folk & Bluegrass, and Rhythm & Blooms. The band has been ranked as the "Best Americana Band" in the Metro Pulse Best of Knoxville poll every year since their inception. They have appeared multiple times on live radio shows including The Grand Ole Opry, NPR's Mountain Stage, WDVX's Tennessee Shines and Music City Roots. In 2010, they were the first band selected and announced to participate in the Americana Music Association's Festival & Conference - their selection was announced a full two months prior to the rest of the lineup. They were asked to return in 2011.
In January, 2011, their album Whiskey Angel was nominated for The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards for the Americana Album Category. The album was selected to receive the IMA Vox Pop award.