Cover2015aFor the past few months I have been producing bits and pieces of country artist John Lilly’s State Song Project. He has written songs about twelve U.S. states and gotten a patchwork of grants and Kickstarter funds to cover the cost of recording and producing them. His songs seem to me to be the direct descendants of Hank Williams songs: forthright, tuneful, and lyrically solid. Last month we recorded “Mississippi” with the Chaise Lounge rhythm section, a blistering horn section, and three gospel backup singers. Next up will be his anthem to his home state, “The Hills of West Virginia.” When I first heard this song, it reminded me of a rather formal composition that might have been performed in a park gazebo in 1910. John was amazingly agreeable to my suggestion to orchestrate the piece for cornet, French horn, euphonium, tuba, background singers and a rhythm section of frailing banjo, guitar, and double bass. In a few weeks, we’ll go into the studio—and 100+ years back in time.

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