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Low Lily

Low Lily – 2015 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Fred Smith

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Low Lily's debut EP features calming, rolling fiddle melodies, crisp vocals and a light touch. Low Lily is a vocal and string trio with serious chops.

Although there's nothing fancy about these selections, the spare arrangements serve to underscore the musicianship. Low Lily's members are securely part of the Northeast folk and Celtic tradition, and they have served up a tasty meal here.

Vocals are shared between Liz Simmons and Lissa Schneckenburger. Schneckenburger is a master fiddler whose strokes are sure and measured. Simmons' guitar accompaniment hits a sweet spot.

Low Lily's third collaborator is Flynn Cohen, a native of the British Isles whose teaching skills are in great demand in Northeast traditional music circles. Cohen's mastery of guitar and mandolin (on the instrumental "Northern Spy") fill out the rich texture of the stringed and vocal instruments on display in this release. Cohen also takes a vocal turn on "All Roads Lead To You" which, in harmony with his band mates, creates richness without flash.

The final cut - a medley of "Cherokee Shuffle" and "Lucky" - brings all the threads together. "Shuffle," which in most iterations starts at about 220 bpm and careens from there, starts languidly with fiddle and then kicks it up a bit with guitar picking before mandolin and fiddle lines join the party with "Lucky."

Like any debut EP, "Low Lily" is an audition. The band places its talent on display and shows it has great promise.