THE BLACK LILLIES
Like the famed distilled spirit of their home state, this Tennessee combo plays rustic country music that, well, goes down pretty damn smooth. Frontman Cruz Contreras croons in a somber twang that’s nicely road-worn to boot, telling tales that’ll trigger moist eyes one moment while enticing the gathered to put on dance shoes the next. The rhythms of the rural hinterlands, foothills and the Appalachians are stitched into the songcraft with a knowing, lived-the-lyrics ease. The songs are mostly acoustic, with the electric guitar checking in and adding a fluid twang as needed. They’re touring in support of the new recording, Runaway Freeway Blues, which is likely to wind up on many best of the year lists.