January 24, 2020 – Nashville, TN – Montana-based rising stars, The Lil Smokies
, are pleased to announce the release of their third studio album, Tornillo, available everywhere today. Recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, with producer-engineer Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, Midland) Tornillo is a focused and refined representation of the sound The Lil Smokies have become known for, Live For Live Music
deeming the release “…an album with a point to make.” Click here
to stream or purchase on your platform of choice.
Earlier this month, American Songwriter
praised the new release declaring Matt Cornette (banjo), Andy Dunnigan (vocals, dobro), Scott Parker (bass), Matt “Rev” Rieger (guitar, vocals) and Jake Simpson (fiddle, vocals), collectively known as The Lil Smokies “…are in the center of bluegrass’ evolution with their rapid banjo plucks, buoyant choruses and music created out of a composite of influences.” Speaking of the evolution, Billboard
cited the band’s “experimental” side when featuring “World’s On Fire,” one of the album’s singles.
On Tornillo, The Lil Smokies dove deep into their well of influences—most notably Laurel Canyon songwriters from the 1970s—and used their traditional string band instruments to craft very non-traditional songs and arrangements. Throughout the album’s eleven tracks the band found themselves trekking into new sonic territory. With Reynolds’ guidance, hints of drums, baritone guitar, and synth pads wove their way into the band’s usual instrumentation. With the goal to enhance the songs, never overwhelming them, The Lil Smokies used their last few days in the studio to experiment, eventually going deep enough to find themselves tracking one of Billy Gibbons’ (ZZ Top) electric guitars through an amplifier previously used by the industrial band Ministry.
As one of the centerpieces of the album, “Carry Me”
offers magnificent musicianship and eludes to the distance that is created by life on the road. Dunnigan explains, “It’s about the dreams we have, and what we go through to make those dreams live on.” While that longing for a sense of home permeates Tornillo, the band also found inspiration in unlikely places. For example, “Giant” was written after Dunnigan watched a documentary about Andre the Giant and his struggles with living in the public eye. Other songs, like “Fortunes” and “True Blues,” are less obvious in their origins, which is intentional. “I like having a little bit of ambiguity in songs, using some impressionistic lyrics, and making it sparse,” Dunnigan says. Another common thread weaves through the entirety of Tornillo; room for the music to breathe. “It seems like over time we’re learning that it’s not the more you play, but the tastefulness and space in between the notes that can pull that emotion out,” says Dunnigan. The band attributes a lot of that space and emotion to the outdoors, where they recharge and find their inspiration. Read more about this process via American Songwriter
’s conversation with Dunnigan.
“Our time there encapsulates all of the good things about being in a band and making music,” Dunnigan says. “The word ‘tornillo’ in its literal definition means a screw or a bolt. That’s exactly what this experience in the studio did for us as a band. We really came together and worked as a unit, and we got back to those reasons why we do this.” The transcendent vibe of Sonic Ranch ultimately helped the band recalibrate, resulting in an album that’s both exhilarating and introspective.
In addition to the release of Tornillo, the band has announced a slew of new tour dates. See below for tour dates with more dates to be announced in the coming months. Visit http://www.thelilsmokies.com/
for more information and click here
to stream or purchase the new release.