When I started the “Band of the Month” feature last year, I had no idea we would be introduced to all the amazing artists that we wound up working with. From a feature with now-indie-giants, Of Monsters and Men, to the beautiful bedroom tunes of Faye Webster, the site found community and excitement in this feature. As we move forward into 2013, we plan to continue to share with you music that we’ve grown to love. Thanks for all your support these past few years.
– Sean Pritchard
“Inspired by the soul of the South and the spirit of gypsies, Lily and the Tigers play what they call gothic Americana music. The band first formed in 2009 through the words, voice, and guitar of Casey Hood and the restless beats of upright bassist Adam Mincey. After completing their first album and a national tour, they have since blossomed into a full sound including bass clarinetist Mikhail Ally, lead guitarist Jared Pepper, drummer Peter Webb and fiddler Ryan Gregory. Together these six summon a fiery energy that requires no amplification to be heard and taken to heart. In June 2012 they finished their first album as a full band titled Hiding ‘til Dawn. The result is an engaging album of haunted Appalachia soul that weaves listeners through a journey of joys and sorrows. While grounded in their roots to Atlanta, Georgia, Lily and the Tigers enjoy ramblin’ on the open road whenever they can, sharing tunes and tales with all who are listening.” – written by the band
Lily & The Tigers was recommended to me at by my friend George Pettis (Wowser Bowser, 100 Watt Horse) at first and then again by Amy Godwin – both of them insisting I listen to the band. After playing through the first few songs of Hiding ’til Dawn, my heart had been won over. I’d fallen hard. I called home to let them know I was in love. Not with all six members of the group per say, but with the beautiful product of their collective grief, celebration, yearning, and contentment. The album is a forthright display of artful talent, observant thought, and a largely kinetic creative energy that I can’t wait to see transposed into a live set. The group will be making a special appearance in Macon at The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom on Friday, June 28th as main support to sunDollars. They have a number of other dates upcoming listed on their website. I had the pleasure of speaking with ringleader Casey Hood about family time, life in the big city, and what to expect when you visit the Clermont Lounge..
This question is a take on one I recently asked the members of The Last Bison, but seeing as you’re a similar-sized band, I was curious as to the responses I’d get; Bands often describe themselves as a “family” once they’ve spent a bit of time on the road together. Like with any family, the bond is built by overcoming hardships, developing trust, and learning that sometimes you have to put someone you love in their right place, whether it’s easy or not. If you could pinpoint it to a specific moment(s), is there a point in the band’s timeline where this bond became wholly apparent?
There is so much love in this band and many a time we have called ourselves a “family.” Every time we are together I feel this, but when we’re on tour it is most evident. We’re playing together, laughing together, sleeping together, cooking together. We move as one and it’s a beautiful bond that is formed. One of the first times I remember having this feeling was when we were on tour in March of 2012. After playing a great show at this incredible place called the Victoria House in Beaumont, TX, we were determined to feed a house of about 30 folks dinner. We were all dancing around the kitchen creating what wound up being the most incredible meal. We were on such a high from being on tour and playing all these great shows along the way. Here we were, this family unit, cooking a feast. We stayed up into the wee hours that night filling this house with music. That’s one of the first times I realized how great the love was between us all.
Atlanta is a big city. I wouldn’t consider myself a “country bumpkin” by any means, but it’s still a bit overwhelming when I visit. Personally, what have any of you done to avoid getting caught up in the “speed of your surroundings” and remain clear-headed and dedicate to living lives that aren’t fully influenced by the big city mentality?
Every person in this band is a nature nerd. We love being outdoors. Every now and then we’ll all pile in the car and head down to the Chattahoochee River to get grounded, get our heads out of the nitty gritty city. We also all live in the same neighborhood together. So we keep it real by being able to walk to each other’s houses and just chill on the front porch together.
To follow up that last question, there must be a number of things that you really love about where you live that you possibly couldn’t have if you lived elsewhere, right?
We do love Atlanta. Going back to your first question about being a family unit as a band, something really wonderful about the music scene in this town is that family element exists everywhere. We are all so close and supportive of each other’s music. People are always collaborating and mixing bands, inspiring each other. That being said, the genres of the Atlanta music are so unique and varied. There are sounds happening here that you won’t hear anywhere else in this country.
You released Hiding ’til Dawn in mid-2012. A year later, how has your relationship with the record changed?
We still love the album, but it’s definitely a representation of us as a young band. When we recorded that album it had only been a month since we had completely formed as a six piece. We were still forming parts and learning how to play with each other. We had the opportunity to record that album because a good friend of mine was in a recording class up in Tennessee so we were real excited to have the chance to play in a nice studio, regardless of how prepared we were. We drove up there after all having worked all day, went into the studio at midnight and had 8 hours to record the thing. We played, all six of us, together in a circle building this strong energy. Played ’til the sun came up and finished a bottle of whiskey. When we walked out of the studio that morning we were all saying, “did that just happen? Was that a dream?” So while we love the fact that that is a live album and a great memory of recording, we also look forward to taking a little more time with the next one.
The band was among many Georgia acts that headed West this Spring for SXSW. Give me a brief rundown of what the tour experience was like, but primarily your time in Austin?
We looove being on tour. This year we headed out to South by Southwest with our good friends Faun and a Pan Flute (who we’ve toured with before). They are a band of 10 people so we were this huge caravan of crazy kids bouncing across the country, taking every town by surprise. This was our second time out to Austin for SXSW and it is a mad house. There is music EVERYWHERE and musicians EVERYWHERE. Sometimes you play a show to no one but the other bands on the bill. Sometimes you’re playing a packed out party. You never know what you’re gonna get. Last year I was determined to book as many shows as we could for the limited days we were there. I think one day we even played 3 sets (not uncommon at SXSW). When we left we all realized we hadn’t even had a chance to take in any new music while we were there. So this year we took one day to check out new music and then only focused on one big show which was an ATL x ATX show my friend Ramon, a local Austinite, and I put together. We featured 5 of our favorite Atlanta bands: Small Reactions, Coco Rico, Little Tybee, Faun and a Pan Flute and Lily and the Tigers. The response from Austin was great. I’m always really excited to show people all that Atlanta has to show and we definitely represented this city well.
Other than being sweaty, what are the bands plans for how you’ll spend this summer?
The past two summers we’ve done big, national tours. This year we’re holding out on that ’til the spring and focusing on regional shows we can play on the weekends (like Macon!). This is in preparation to record the next album, hopefully starting in August. We have sooo many great songs to record right now. We’re itching to get in there and create!
Excuse how generic this is, but I’m genuinely interested in this case; What do you love about being in the band that you’re in – with the people you share this experience with?
I love the love in this band. We are all very close. Every time we’re all up on stage on the last song and I look around at the people I’m making this music with I am overwhelmed with happiness. Every single person in this band has moved me tears before by the way they play. They are so fluid in expressing emotion straight from the heart, to their hands, to their instruments. It amazes me.
Assuming that there are a few of you in the band that enjoy a cold drink every now and then, if there was a mixed drink called “Lily & The Tigers”, what would it be?
Honestly, probably straight whiskey. We love sittin’ around a fire, sippin’ whiskey and playin’ music.
Favorite Music Store in Atlanta:
Record Store: Criminal Records and for musical supplies: Earthshaking Music (where Jared our guitar player works)
The band has the opportunity to relocate anywhere in the US… Where would you go?
Anywhere in the mountains by a big ‘ol lake or river
Haunted Appalachian Soul
Lily & The Tigers is not:
“we ain’t…goin nowhere. we ain’t, goin nowhere.”
In one word, The Clermont Lounge experience is:
Favorite Movie of 2013:
You know…I’m not sure any of us have seen a movie released in 2013 yet.
Favorite annual Atlanta event:
Little Five Points Halloween Parade…for sure