ALBUM PREMIERE: Lilli Lewis Tells Outsider on Ambitious Country-soul LP ‘Americana’

Beloved New Orleans Folk Rock Diva Lilli Lewis is releasing Americana, her third full album for Louisiana Red Hot Records. The album was co-produced by Lewis and iconic indie producer Mark Bingham (Peter Stampfel, Hal Wilner, Allen Ginsberg…). Notable guest artists include cellist Rick Nelson (Afghan Whigs, Polyphonic Spree), folk favorite Gina Forsyth, and Seattle Blues Legend Lady A. The album will be released on CD and across all digital platforms on October 29th.

Thanks to the perils of five pandemic-era hurricanes, Americana was recorded across more than twice as many spaces, with the bulk of the load performed in New Orleans at Marigny Studios (recorded by Rick Nelson), and at Bingham’s own Nina Highway in Henderson, Louisiana. After performing for a full house at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s last show before lockdown, Lewis conceived the album amid quarantine conditions that imposed an indefinite pause in an otherwise booked-out performance year. Without the pressure of upbeat, danceable shows on the agenda, Lewis turned to a bag of story songs that she felt didn’t fit the New Orleans club scene.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the album ahead of its release this Friday. Americana finds Lewis returning to her folk and roots origins as she reflects two sides of her America: that of her father’s church, and that of the “white-gaze” world that existed beyond those walls. The ambitious collection of songs merges gospel and blues into a country-soul sound that demonstrates a fresh yet timeless perspective on country music. Lyrically, Lewis delivers stirring commentary that tells the stories of the forgotten and marginalized members of American society. With a soundtrack of poignant country-soul – one of the finest albums you’ll hear bringing these two genres together – Lewis sings with both compassion and conviction. Fans of Allison Russell’s fantastic solo album Outside Child may catch similarities in Americana, but there are also plenty of differences as Lewis lays down tracks that are funkified and danceable, reflecting the city she calls home. Listening to the album, each song feels more exciting than the next and it’s easy to get swept up in the emotion of the lyrics while also being impressed by the tight musicianship on display throughout. Though Lewis has been a major force in the Louisiana music scene and beyond for quite some time, Americana is easily one of her strongest efforts to date and one that will linger with you long after listening. 

Lilli Lewis describes the inspiration behind the album:

“All of the songs on my record are about people who might be considered outsiders like immigrants and refugees, queer folks, the houseless, and all those striving for universal dignity. I’m honored to be able to carry those stories, and I can tell we’re in a new era by the way the songs are being received. It feels like people are more willing to bear witness to each other’s struggles as we all work together to survive these times.”


Photo credit: David Villalta

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