- Nicole Wickens
The Black Lillies is a band born of devastation. Its first album, Whiskey Angel (2009), was recorded in the living room of frontman Cruz Contreras after his divorce from Robinella and the split of their band, which they formed in the 90s. While Whiskey Angel was Contreras' attempt to sort out the wreckage of his relationship, it was also an instant hit for audiences. The band has been rising steadily through the music scene since then, releasing four more albums. Its sound has hopped between Americana, blues, country and even jazz. Stranger to Me (2018) is its latest album; it has the sharp twang of Contreras' newfound country vocals that merge with the robust guitar shredding of Dustin Schaefer. Despite the bands evolved sound (reminiscent of Randy Travis) the heart of the group prevails and the sound grows on the listener.