Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lily and the Tigers headline formidable folk showcase

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 2:27 PM

click to enlarge PETER WEBB
  • Peter Webb

A truly must-see showcase of Georgia's finest folktale-spinners takes over the Earl this Thursday (July 17). Holding down the headlining spot is Atlanta's own acoustic powerhouse, Lily and the Tigers. The three-piece has been on a victory lap since releasing its third LP, The Hand You Deal Yourself. While contemporary folk conjures up images of squeaky rocking chairs overlooking a vast and pristine Appalachian valley, Lily and the Tigers prefer the smoky underbelly of nature. The band's sound favors hazy nights in which the familiarity of human static has faded with the sun and only a campfire offers respite from the forest's enclosing darkness.

Ben Trickey's take on folk whimsy revels in a similar gloom. His fifth album, Rising Waters, leaves little room for fairytale meanderings on love and life. Trickey feels most at home when his voices gleans life from rainclouds, break-ups, and rushing rapids, all sentimentality soaked in drink. His songs burn slowly like a fire fighting for life on top of damp wood.

It is unfair to call Athens-bred Ruby the Rabbitfoot the opener, when the group could easily carry the headlining spot. The project is the mouthpiece for lead singer/songwriter Ruby Kendrick's slightly more positive spin on aimless wanderings and lost loves. But even the sing-song glee of her 2012 debut, No Weight No Chain, has soured over the last two years. The opening line of her latest single, "Ways," drips with defeat and melancholy as she sings, "I know you're probably thinking of ways to be good to me, but let me help you spare your precious energy."

The melody remains buoyant, yet deceptive. Clearly Kendrick retains her ear for hooks, but coats them with a biting sincerity.

As it's roughly the price of a Cookout platter, there's really no reason to miss such a rare and stellar lineup.

$5. 8:30 p.m. Thurs., July 17. The Earl. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.

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