Lilly of the West delivers pizzazz with latest recording…
Top-flight entertainment is the menu du jour with Swings and Heartaches, the latest recording from Lilly of the West. The CD covers classic country-blues ballads, Western swing and a taste of Bulgarian folk music. Rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic continue to support its success. Internationally renowned journalist Stephanie Ledgin calls this “the group’s best project to date.” A genre-defying ensemble, Lilly of the West showcases the outstanding talents of founder and lead vocalist Lilly Drumeva who also plays guitar and fiddle, Yassen Vassilev with his driving guitar work and vocals, Michail Shishkov who dazzles on Dobro guitar, harmonica and piano, and Svoboda Bozduganova who anchors the group’s sound with upright bass and who also lends vocals. Including the new one, nine recordings plus one live performance DVD, released over the last decade and a half, have placed – and kept – Lilly of the West in demand for concert, festival, radio and television appearances. A companion DVD for Swings and Heartaches is in progress. Drumeva, a pioneer in promoting bluegrass music in the Balkans and beyond for more than fifteen years, has made this her life mission and passion. She backs up that goal with extensive credits. She has taken America’s homegrown music on tour not only throughout her homeland, but also to a dozen European countries stretching from the United Kingdom to Russia. She has even crossed the ocean with her unique program, appearing successfully in the United States. Bluegrass – a derivative American form that draws from country, blues and Scotch-Irish music – exhibits qualities that resonate with traditional Bulgarian folk. Drumeva and Lilly of the West have expanded upon this by blending these complementary styles into an engaging repertoire that also explores bluesy ballads and jazzy swing tunes. Since founding Lilly of the West in 1996, Drumeva has captivated audiences on such prestigious stages as the International Bluegrass Music Awards show (United States), European World of Bluegrass (the Netherlands), Inverness (Scotland) Festival of the Arts, Bansko (Bulgaria) Jazz Fest, Trondheim (Norway) Country Music Fest, Athy (Ireland) Bluegrass Festival, Karl May Festival (Germany), Musica Latina (Italy), Paide Shanty Festival (Estonia), and in various European embassies, to name a few. Future goals include touring such countries as Australia, Canada, Japan and Brazil. Also in the works is a video devoted to Bulgarian folk music, while Drumeva continues to develop original material for the band.
The hard working singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, music arranger, manager and record producer of the Bulgarian group Lilly of the West now offers a special project with two parts, the „swings“ are lively, up-tempo songs from the 40s/50s, and the „heartaches“ are beautiful ballads with strong lyrics. Lilly Drumeva (lead & harmony vocals, fiddle), Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars), Michail Shishkov (lead and Harmony vocals, Dobro, piano), and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass) with special guests Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle) are very enjoyable to hear and time passes quickly listening to those 11 songs, the tasteful voice(s) and fine picking make it easy to indulge in ? style that is on the edge of bluegrass. And as in the eight previous projects, Lilly includes two songs in Bulgarian.
BLUEGRASSEUROPE – 84/2012
Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul / Who Knows What Tomorrow
May Bring / Lovesick Blues / I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter / Walkin’ After Midnight / My Window Faces The South / If I Were A Carpenter / Brala Moma Ruzha Cvete / Crying In The Rain / Malka Moma Si Se Bogu Moli / Valentine Moon
Producers: Lilly Of The West, Polysound
Lilly Of The West is a classy outfit of international quality. I have followed Lilly Drumeva’s recording career with interest and have long admired her beautiful singing and consistent professionalism. Here again she has the excellent guitarist and singer, Yasen Vasilev, and the very accomplished bass player Svoboda Bozduganova who were band-members on her 2009 album Lovin’ You, which readers might remember I recommended with enthusiasm. The band has since taken on the talented Dobro player and singer, Michail Shishkov. They are joined on this session, by guests Michal Barok – mandolin and Milena Vuleva – fiddle.
As its title suggests, the album brings together up-tempo songs that swing with heartfelt ballads. The sources from which the songs are drawn are impeccable and include: Hank Williams; Johnny Cash and June Carter; Bob Wills; Patsy Cline, Fats Waller; the Everly Brothers and our own dear Jools Holland with his co-written heart-render, Valentine Moon. It’s always a treat to hear Lilly sing folk songs from her beloved homeland, Bulgaria and she doesn’t disappoint. Her renditions of two of her country’s finest resonate with the history of her small but stoic nation.
The singing is sublime, with lead and harmonies shared as Lilly duets first with Yasen on If I Were A Carpenter and later with Michail on Crying in The Rain. The harmonies throughout the album are luxurious. As for the instrumental work, that, as previously, is flawless. Yasen’s guitar work is laid back but precise with breaks flowing and splitting smoothly from one musician to another. New member, Michail Shishkov’s Dobro playing bubbles with freshness and wit – particularly in his break on My Window Faces The South. Svoboda’s bass solo on I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter is masterful.
All-in-all another winner from a bunch of folks who know what they’re about and how to entertain with style and sophistication – and long may they keep doing it.
Country Music People
Changement de cap et de look pour Lilly Drumeva. Après l’album Lovin’You sorti sous son nom il y a deux ans et pour lequel elle s’était gainée de cuir façon vamp dominatrice (la sous-section SM du Cri voulait même la mettre en couverture !), Elle revient à son groupe Liily Of The West et opte pour un look thirties bien assorti à la musique du nouvel album, Swings & Heartaches. Nous étions nombreux à penser que le principal attrait des albums bluegrass de Lilly résidait dans ses chansons swing. Elle semble l’avoir compris à son tour puisqu’elle a complètement abandonné le bluegrass. Son groupe comprend l’excellent guitariste Yasen Vasilev, le dobroïste Michail Shishkov et la contrebassiste Svoboda Bozduganova. L’album se partage entre swings et chansons mélancoliques (les Heartaches du titre, je suppose). Les six swings sont très connus. Le disque démarre bien avec Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Sou! (Patsy Cline). J’aime aussi la version des Lilly de Lovesick Blues (Hank Williams entre autres). I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter aussi été chanté par Fats Waller, Sinatra. Madeleine Seydoux et même Paul McCartney sur son récent disque Kisses On The Bottom. S’attaquer à des titres aussi connus peut se révéler piégeux. On connait de meilieures versions de Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Claire Lynch) et Walkin’ After Midnight. Sur ces deux titres, le phrasé de Lilly est trop précipité et un peu plat. Sur Walkin’… et My Window Faces The South (Bob Wills), elle se rattrape en doublant magnifiquement sa voix, à l’égal de ce que peuvent faire Rhonda Vincent et Alison Krauss. Parmi les chansons mélancoliques, un des deux titres en bulgare. Brala Mona Rhuza Cvete a dailleurs un superbe refrain grâce aux harmonies vocales. II y a aussi deux belles chansons en duo. If I Were A Carpenter avec Vasiiev et surtout Crying In The Rain, un titre de Carole King popularisé par les Everly Brothers, très bien interprété avec Shishkov L’album se termine par Valentine Moon que Lilly chante seule accompagnée au piano par Shishkov. Et pour le coup, je préfère cette version à l’original de Sam Brown. Après avoir longtemps persévéré dans le bluegrass, Lilly semble avoir trouvé sa voie dans ce mélange de swing et de country folk.
Lead singer Lilly Drumeva leads this fantastic quartet through an album of classic and Western swing tunes. From the lively to the soulful, they nail it with pizzazz, start to finish. Throw in a couple of Bulgarian folk songs and you have the group’s best project to date. Now this is entertainment! – Quote by Stephanie P. Ledgin
Back in 2010, I was well taken with the Lilly Drumeva album, „Lovin’ You“. My first encounter with Bulgarian bluegrass, it saw Ms Drumeva recording with Czech bluegrass legends (another yes, really) Monogram on one half of her record, and with her band, Lilly Of The West on the rest. I reckoned it was an absolute delight from top to bottom, and have been playing it incessantly ever since. And now she’s back with Lilly Of The West for this new album.
„Swings & Heartaches“ is the group’s recently released ninth album, and includes eleven songs, in two parts, a „swing side“ and a „heartache side“, hence the title. And it’s an absolute cracker. The „swing side“ is my favourite, and sees the band tackling up-tempo swing tunes from the 1940s/50s. There’s a couple of Patsy Cline hits (‘Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul’ and ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’, which sees a mighty fine vocal turn, a Hank Williams classic (‘Lovesick blues’), and a few more standards.
Over on the „heartaches side“, it’s time for the ballads, with ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, the Everly Brothers’ peach ‘Crying In The Rain’, a surprise visit to ‘Valentine Moon’, a song written and performed by Jools Holland & Sam Brown, from his „Small World Big Band“ albums and, like „Lovin’ You“, some Bulgarian folk melodies in the shape of ‘Brala Moma’ Ruzha Cvete and ‘Malka Moma si se Bogu moli’. Lilly and her band – Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars); Michail Shishkov (lead and harmony vocals, Dobro, piano); and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass: pizzicato and arco). are in sparkling form, and helped along with special guests, Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle) have made an absolutely essential bluegrass and country release.
Posted by zeitgeist
AND another article from zeitgeist
LILLY OF THE WEST’s brand new album out now!
Swings & heartaches includes eleven songs, in two parts.
The swings are lively, up-tempo songs from the 1940s/50s, featuring two Patsy Cline hits (Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul & Walkin after midnight), one by Hank Williams (Lovesick blues), two old western/swing standards (My window faces the south, I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter) and a modern swing (Who knows what tomorrow may bring).
The heartaches are beautiful ballades with strong lyrics. One is a Johnny Cash/June Carter duet (If I were a carpenter), another is an Everly Brothers classic (Crying in the rain); a modern nostalgic song by Jools Holland & Sam Brown (Valentine moon) and two Bulgarian folk melodies (Brala moma & Malka moma).
Lilly Drumeva – lead & harmony vocals, fiddle
Yasen Vasilev – lead & rhythm guitars
Michail Shishkov – Dobro, piano
Svoboda Bozduganova – upright bass: pizzicato and arco
With special guests: Michal Barok – mandolin, Milena Vuleva – violin
Lilly of the West was formed in 1996 by Lilly Drumeva in Sofia, Bulgaria. Shortly after releasing a debut album, the band toured successfully throughout Europe and the US, winning European and international bluegrass music awards. Lilly of the West has a large repertoire, including country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop and Bulgarian folk music. The band has released 9 albums to date.
Bulharská skupina Lilly Of The West vydala nové album s názvem
Swings & Heartaches…
Skupina vznikla v bulharské Sofii v roce 1995 z iniciativy Lilly Drumevy. Krátce po vydání premiérového alba úsp?šn? koncertovala v Evrop? i Spojených státech a dosáhla ?ady evropských i mezinárodních ocen?ní na poli bluegrassové hudby. Formace (mimochodem v Bulharsku jediná tohoto žánru) má v sou?asné dob? široký repertoár od hudby country p?es bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop a bulharskou lidovou hudbu. Její zatím poslední vydané album je devátým v po?adí.
Deska obsahuje jedenáct song? ze dvou hudebních oblastí, jak ostatn? p?edznamenává samotný název desky. Materiál desky ozna?ený jako swingový ?erpá z amerického hudebního fondu 40. a 50. let 20. století. Zastoupený je skladbami od americké countryové hv?zdy Patsy Clineové („Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul“ a Walkin’ After Midnight“) a nemén? slavného Hanka Williamse („Lovesick Blues“), dále dv?ma western-swingovými standardy („My Window Faces The South “ a “ I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter“) a kone?n? jednou moderní swingovou skladbou („Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring“).
Druhá tématická oblast nového alba obsahuje balady se silnými texty, v první ?ad? duet z repertoáru Johnnyho Cashe a June Carterové („If I Were a Carpenter“), klasiku od Everly Brothers („Crying In The Rain“), nostalgickou píse? („Valentine Moon“) známou d?íve z podání britského pianisty, zp?váka a skladatele Juliana Milese „Joolse“ Hollanda a britské písni?ká?ky Samanthy Brownové. Kolekci uzavírají dv? bulharské lidové melodie („Brala moma Ruzha cvete“ a “ Malka moma si se Bogu moli“).
Kapela nahrála desku v následujícím obsazení: Lilly Drumeva – lead & harmony vocals, fiddle, Yasen Vasilev – lead & rhythm guitars, Michail Shishkov – Dobro, piano a Svoboda Bozduganova – upright bass (pizzicato and arco). K nahrávce byli p?izváni také speciální hosté, excelentní slovenský mandolinista Michal Barok a bulharská houslistka Milena Vuleva.
Ukázky z alba vydaného v b?eznu 2012 a ?adu dalších informací najdete na adrese:
It’s a bit strange that one has to go all the way to Bulgaria to meet up with a music band that can faithfully perform bluegrass and country music. It was in Bulgaria that we met Lilly Drumeva, the singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, music arranger, manager and record producer of the Bulgarian group Lilly of the West. „Swings & Heartaches“ is the group’s recently released ninth album.
We first met Lilly at a concert staged at a studio in Sofia in November 2009 which aired on Bulgarian National Radio. The performance was recorded for the Bulgarian Golden Radio Fund and was accompanied by an announcer giving the history of bluegrass and country music. The introductions were in Bulgarian, but the songs were a highly enjoyable mixture of country, folk, bluegrass and original compositions, most of them performed in English.
The second time we saw Lilly of the West was at a matinee performance three months later at the Tea House in central Sofia, which came shortly after the release of the group’s CD, „Lovin’ You“. Lilly and her band performed songs from the new CD, including „Pennies from Heaven“ and „Tennessee Waltz“. Other songs included Patsy Cline’s „Walking After Midnight“ and „You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All,“ the country song written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz sung by Ronan Keating in the film „Notting Hill“.
The new album of Lilly of the West is entitled ”Swings & Heartaches” and it includes eleven songs, half of them “swings” and half of them “heartaches.” As per Lilly’s website, the „swings“ are “lively, up-tempo songs from the 40s/50s” and they include two Patsy Cline hits (“Walking After Midnight” and “Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul”); a Hank Williams song (“Lovesick Blues”) and other western/swing standards.
The „heartaches“, as Lilly describes them, are “beautiful ballads with strong lyrics”. One is the classic Johnny Cash/June Carter duet („If I Were a Carpenter“); another is the Everly Brothers’ hit „Crying in the Rain“). There are also two Bulgarian folk melodies in the collection.
Musicians on the album are Lilly Drumeva (lead & harmony vocals, fiddle); Yasen Vasilev (lead & harmony vocals, lead & rhythm guitars); Michail Shishkov (lead and harmony vocals, Dobro, piano); and Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass: pizzicato and arco). Special guests on the album are Michal Barok (mandolin) and Milena Vuleva (fiddle).
Lilly of the West was formed in 1996 by Lilly Drumeva in Sofia. Shortly after releasing a debut album, the band toured successfully throughout Europe and the U.S., winning European and international bluegrass music awards.
I invited Lilly to come perform in Israel and hopefully one day she and her band will be able to take me up on this invitation. In the meantime, downloading ”Swings & Heartaches” from CDBaby is a simple task. Within minutes, one can begin enjoying the swings and the heartaches of bluegrass and country music, performed by an extremely talented Bulgarian group.
Ellis Shuman | March 19, 2012
Bulgarian folk and bluegrass singer Lilly Drumeva has defied stylistic pigeon-holing since she first came to attention with her band, Lilly of the West, in 1996. Over the course of 9 albums, her music has involved elements of country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop and Bulgarian folk music.
The band’s most recent release, Swings & Heartaches, offers up Lilly’s versions of two popular Americana musical forms, presented in an acoustic,
“The ‘swings’ are lively, up-tempo songs from the 1940s/50s, featuring two Patsy Cline hits (Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul and Walkin’ After Midnight), one by Hank Williams (Lovesick Blues), two old western/swing standards (My Window Faces The South, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter) and a modern swing (Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring).
The ‘heartaches’ are beautiful ballades with strong lyrics. One is a Johnny Cash/June Carter duet (If I Were A Carpenter), another is an Everly Brothers’ classic (Crying in The Rain); a modern nostalgic song by Jools Holland & Sam Brown (Valentine Moon) and two Bulgarian folk melodies (Brala Moms and Malka Moma).”
Joining Drumeva on vocals and fiddle are Yasen Vasilev on guitar, Michail Shishkov on piano and resonator guitar, Svoboda Bozduganova on bass, Michal Barok on mandolin and Milena Vuleva on violin.
John Lawless | March 16, 2012