Lillie Mae – Other Girls
Expectations soared for Lillie Mae’s second Third Man Records full-length, Other Girls, after the single “You’ve Got Other Girls for That” captured the former Jack White bandmate exploring new sonic territory while tearing down a manipulative former lover.
After the album arrived on Aug. 16, other songs made with Nashville’s go-to producer Dave Cobb provided even better barometers of longtime bluegrass fiddler Lillie Mae Rische’s continued evolution into solo artist Lillie Mae.
If you’re looking for reminders of country music’s rich past, Lillie Mae’s got you covered with statement of independence “I Came for the Band (For Show),” honky-tonk timepiece “Whole Blue Heart” and the throwback bass line that guides along “Didn’t I.” All three songs likely reflect lessons learned by years of playing Layla’s Honky Tonk in Nashville as a member of the Rische Sisters.
Songs with less twang and more experimentation include “Crisp & Cold,” which begins with string band instrumentation and harmonies before turning into a Box Tops song. Lillie Mae also revisits folk-rock (“A Golden Year”) and country rock (“Some Gamble”) on her own terms.
The next to last song, “Terlingua Girl,” sounds like the title of an Emmylou Harris song. Instead, it’s a Lillie Mae original that’s inspired by a real-life encounter with a mysterious stranger in the enchanting border town of Terlingua, Texas. Opinions on a weeks-old album are sure to change over time, yet as of early September, it’s definitely the finest example to date of Lillie Mae’s talents as a singer, writer and arranger.
Instead of leaving us on that high note, Lillie Mae ends her album with “Love Dilly Love.” While other songs came from Appalachian Mountain hideaways, Texas border towns and Lower Broadway bars, this can best be described as an English interpretation of a weird French pop song. Or at least that’s one hillbilly’s take. It’s a nice surprise and ample reason to hope Lillie Mae throws us more musical curveballs.