Under The Radar: The Lilybandits

Lilybandits 33 third

Gone, daddy. Gone

Nine and a half years ago I pontificated about The Lilybandits in Cosmik Debris as part of my scour-the-globe feature called The MP3 Files. I put them on a list of bands to watch and follow, but I never heard anything else from their camp. I only discovered the reference to the live album when looking for a photo to include with this essay!

Andy Whitman writes this about them in his blog Razing The Bar (link below) and I think it sums up my frustration perfectly: “All Music Guide, an exhaustive music reviews database where you can find anybody and everybody, has this to say about The Lilybandits. You can click if you want, but here’s the deal: there’s nothing there. There’s a placeholder without content. And that’s the story of The Lilybandits…” Andy wrote those words a year ago and nothing has changed since. Now that is under the radar!

Here’s my original take from May 2000:

An absolutely stunning record that transcends any single style, 33 1/3 conjures up everyone from Big Star to the Jayhawks to the Long Ryders or even the Rolling Stones (with Gram Parsons steering the ship, of course). Tracks like “Fire In The Hole” recall more obscure y’alternative bands like Walk The West. “Past Few Days”, available as an MP3 file, might be the single most beautiful song I’ve heard this year, with achingly sweet vocals and fragile, haunting refrain. Tracks like “Hangin'” combine strong pop sensibilities with enough roadhouse flavor that both camps should gobble this up.

“Beautiful” is countrified blues with a guitar solo that recalls Ronnie Wood’s heartbreaker on The Faces‘ live version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” (if you’re gonna pay homage, it’s good to reference the gods!). “Long Time If I Don’t See You” is a great morning-after song, and in “Easily Broken Heart”, well…how about Rudy Vallee goes country? Chock full of winning tracks like “Vertigo” and “Top” that will resonate in your head after one listen. Make them one of your favorites, too.

And then, of course, they went poof. Try and find this gem if you can!


A live clip from a 2009 reunion.

Listen to three songs here.

No Depression article.

Razing The Bar blog feature.


Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews

6 responses to “Under The Radar: The Lilybandits

  1. Gage Smith

    My dad, Keith Smith, is the drummer for the lilybandits; they are still around. and they still play.

  2. drbristol

    Cool – tell them to cut another album!

  3. Trent Arnold

    Gage is telling the truth… sorta, thank you Gage! We’ve done a few reunion shows in the past couple of years. Todd May, the singer and songwriter for The Lilybandits has a CD coming out sometime in the near future on Peloton Records. He was the heart and soul of The Lilybandits sound. If you want to hear more of where we could have gone, that is where you should start. If you want the old CDs I have copies of those. Thank you for remembering!

  4. Steve May

    Todd is with the band Mooncussers on Peleton Records. They are making some great music and Todd continues to build a songwriting catalog that is mindboggling.
    But………I do still often hanker for the old Lilybandits stuff and sound.

  5. Randy

    I’m out here in the Pacific Northwest and Shifty’s tavern is in my truck CD player right now. I’m just discovering The Mooncussers today and digging it. I’d sure like to find some Lilybandits lyrics someday.

  6. Bob Fritz

    The Lilybandits were my favorite band in Columbus around 1999-2000. Met Jose Gonzales, he was really cool, and the whole band always had time to talk to and appreciate their audience. And 33 1/3 is an incredible record. Can’t imagine why they went poof!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s