Tennessee’s Black Lillies play the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Tennessee’s Black Lillies play the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs

The Black Lillies
Publicity Photo / Deone Jahnke |

Independent Music Award winners The Black Lillies will play at Hotel Colorado at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based band is touring in support of its third studio album, “Runaway Freeway Blues,” which debuted in the top 40 of the Billboard Top 200 and has so far spent more than four months in the Americana Music Association charts, where it peaked at No. 4. The band worked with Scott Minor of Sparklehorse to craft a beautiful ode to restless spirits and rambling hearts. Rooted in the mud-rutted switchbacks of Appalachia, “Runaway Freeway Blues” is the sound of a band that’s becoming something of a phenomenon across the country.

When band leader Cruz Contreras and harmony vocalist Trisha Gene Brady combine their voices, it calls to mind classic duets from times long gone: George and Tammy. Gram and Emmylou. Johnny and June. From the gentle Laurel Canyon folk rock of The Eagles to the honky-tonk heartache of classic country to the winding jams of the Grateful Dead, “Runaway Freeway Blues” is an album that defies easy categorization.

Contreras and his bandmates — Brady, multi-instrumentalist Tom Pryor, bass player Robert Richards and drummer Bowman Townsend — have managed to put three tracks in Country Music Television’s top 12 requested videos, gain accolades from media outlets ranging from Vanity Fair to USA Today, and film a nationally broadcast commercial for Twizzlers. They’ve been featured on numerous television specials and played festivals as widespread as Bonnaroo, Rochester Jazz Festival, MerleFest and CMA Fan Fair. Despite trafficking in a richer, more authentic brand of country and Americana than what gets played on mainstream country radio, they’ve still been invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry more than 20 times — a record for an independent act.

The band tours relentlessly and has become known for its dynamic, high-energy shows. The group honors the traditions of its Appalachian heritage while blazing new trails in the roots rock genre. Strains of old-time, bluegrass, country, rock and jazz are heard throughout their music, creating a sound that is uniquely their own.

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