Live Show Review: Lillie Mae at Third Man Records

The Blue Room at Third Man Records is a fascinating blend of technology and intimacy– a collection of the finest acoustic designs and recording equipment with a small club vibe, the perfect setting for rising artist Lillie Mae to open up about the creation of her new record, the Jack White-produced Forever and Then Some. Even with the show sold out well in advance, family, friends, and fans waited in line to be up close while Mae celebrated her first solo album.

Mae has performed on stage since she was three years old, paid her dues in honky-tonks, and established her bona fide country roots with her family band.  Now, with the spotlight focused on her, it is clear that Mae has grown through her experiences and is genuinely grateful for the opportunity to share her talents.  On a stage as powerful as the Blue Room, it was refreshing to see someone grounded and thankful, with her family ties firmly in place, as her brother Frank Rische played lead guitar and her sister, Scarlett, added bluegrass twang on mandolin.

Forever and Then Some, like prior Third Man country albums, is rooted in traditional strings and the storytelling soul of the genre. The songs’ backbone are classic with guitar, fiddle, and banjo, and a hint of cowgirl inspiration with Mae adding a modern and angelic twist.

More than anything, the show proved that Mae was likely born with a violin in her hands; while many recognize her from her string work and vocals on Jack White’s Lazaretto tour, in the Blue Room, something magical happened when she picked up her fiddle. She was electric–her voice rang out, she glowed on the stage, her grin filled the room. It’s not just how well she plays, it’s the euphoria in her music that had the room rapt in every note and every accompanying word. The night featured several off-album instrumental diversions with the band (sometimes joined by Nashville guitarist Craig Smith who was featured on the album) whipping up a picking frenzy and Mae more than matching the effort on fiddle.

For both Lillie Mae and her fans, the night was a celebration of past, present, and future. Her work and sound honors the traditions of country music, her album release highlighted her accomplishments as an artist, and for her fans, it was a chance to be part of the next steps on her journey.

Purchase Forever and Then Somehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forever-and-then-some/id1206149440

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George Maifair

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