I’ve been something of a closet fan of Country/Bluegrass music for quite a few years but it’s only recently that I’ve made an effort to find out more about it. Lilly Drumeva is something of an anomaly in that she is Bulgarian and (for the first 9 tracks) she utilises the services of one of the Czech Republic’s finest bluegrass band’s Monogram. For the last six tracks she is joined by her own not inconsiderable bunch of talented musicians aptly titled Lilly Of The West. As a newcomer I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but on the strength of the fifteen tracks here I know that I would like to see a live performance. Drumeva’s vocals are satin smooth and ideally suited to the music she obviously has an empathy with and when joined in the duets by Monogram’s Jakub Racek the performance brings back memories of Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers without the American burr. Spirited arrangements featuring banjo, mandolin and guitar drive everything along at a cracking pace and the title track along with the beautifully seductive “Tennessee Waltz” are particularly well judged. The eclectic nature of the recording utilising country, bluegrass, swing and even a touch of Bulgarian folk song is like a breath of fresh air to these somewhat jaded ‘folk’ ears of mine and when it’s as superbly crafted as this it has certainly become one of my favourite albums this year.
Artist Website: www.lillydrumeva.net