Lillie Mae has transformed from busker to family band to vibrant solo artist via dynamic vocals, strong songwriting and blazing fiddle playing. Her second full-length solo record Other Girls finds her broadening her sound and sonic texture while not abandoning what she does best; singing string soaked Americana tunes with a mixture of grace and fire.
Heartache and broken relationships is a constant theme throughout Other Girls. The ominous opener (from which the album gets its title) revolves around what could/should/never has gone down between people with buzzing violin work and Mae’s soaring vocals. “How?” finds her asking the question as often as James Brown tried to apologize with “Please, Please Please”, as Mae tries to understand love gone wrong. The closing experimental art rock-influenced “Love Dilly Love” hammers home the point with repetitive statements like “Do without/Be without/Go without” over a nightmare-inducing swirling of sounds.
That sense of wandering malaise is constant throughout the record; Mae is transitioning through tough times with tracks like “A Golden Year” which delivers a fit inducing stomping finale, trying to shake things up/off. “Some Gamble” flirts with introspective light rock and “At Least Three in This Room” speaks to Mae’s disappointment around a laid back country groove.
The album was produced by Dave Cobb and contains his patented stripped-down warm production letting the musicians and songs speak for themselves. Supported by her family on the record and bringing in some of the best Americana artists as additional producers (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile) Other Girls is strongly rooted yet open to trying new things. Tracks like “Whole Blue Heart” take a traditional country waltz route while “Crisp & Cold” incorporates distorted guitars, flamenco picking and full cataclysm of strings to wrap up.
Highlights like “Crisp & Cold”, “I Came for the Band (For Show)”and “Terlingua Girl” (a re-working of a song she composed when she was 15) all nail the sweet spot where Mae’s best songs reside; hip dive bar coolness at the crossroads of alt-country, pop, rock and sweet soulful country sounds. Lillie Mae is constantly on the move and her tunes reflect that, Other Girls resonates on failed relationships, dull pain and trying to move past the hurt.