Hitch a Ride on Lula Wiles’ Rising Star!
I first saw Lula Wiles (then known as The Wiles; they had to change their name because it was already in use by another band) perform two years ago at the FreshGrass Festival as part of the Berklee bands segment and was immediately enchanted by them. They are a true Americana act, taking their influences from bluegrass, folk, and roots music genres, and blending them to create a unique sound.
Ellie Buckland, Isa Burke, and Mali Obomsawin graduated from Berklee College of Music over the past two years, and have clearly put much effort into their about-to-be-released debut album which is self-titled. This Club Passim show was an album release show even though the official release date is May 27th. Those of us who supported their crowd-funding campaign received digital copies in advance of this show so I was somewhat familiar with the songs.
Ellie plays mostly guitar, but also fiddle. Isa’s main instrument is fiddle, but also plays guitar. Mali sticks with the acoustic double bass. All sing lead as well as providing harmonies, and what glorious harmonies they are! As much as I love their instrumentation, it is their vocals that initially drew me toward them.
I do not know which song on the album is my favorite. It could be ‘Sorrow is the Bird’, but it could also be ‘Oh’. Ask me tomorrow and I will most likely give you a different answer – they are all that good!
They were joined on some songs by fellow Berklee students Sean Trischka on drums and vocals and Adam Iredale-Gray on fiddle, who added some depth to the original songs.
This show was the day after Prince died, and Taylor Ashton did a lovely tribute to him by playing ‘When Doves Cry’ on banjo during his opening set.
I predict these young women (and their guest players) will be a hufe force on the Americana music scene for many years to come. The chemistry they bring to the stage is a joy to behold.