Heartache never sounded so inviting as it does on Lillie Mae’s new song “Honky Tonks and Taverns.”
Bittersweet regret seeps through the song as Mae, a member of Jack White’s band, sings “All the damage that I’ve done is not lost and still lives on in the valleys, in the caverns, honky tonks and taverns,” but her words are surrounded by some of the sweetest bluegrass picking this side of any holler.
Darkness is imminent from the opening count, when Mae asks, “What did the snake do to her?” with a laugh, conjuring up images of Eve tempting Adam in Garden of Eden. The tale of woe plays out throughout the song and there’s little redemption to be found, but the engaging instrumentation – with fiddles, banjo and mandolins floating above the acoustic guitars and the chugging drumbeat – lifts it out of the gloom.
“Honky Tonks and Taverns” appears on Forever and Then Some, Mae’s Jack White-produced solo debut album arriving April 14th on White’s Third Man Records. First single, “Over The Hill and Through The Woods” was released last week. The album follows her 7-inch vinyl double-sided single for Third Man, which was released in 2014.
Mae, who has performed on stage since she was 3, continues to tour with White and contribute to his recordings. She also remains part of her family band, The Risches (formerly known as Jypsi), which includes her three sisters and brother, all of whom appear on her new album.