Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rest in peace, Everett Lilly

Word has come from the International Bluegrass Music Association that bluegrass legend Everett Lilly has passed.
With his brother, Bea, Everett was credited with "bringing bluegrass to New England and with influencing such future bluegrass artists as Peter Rowan, Joe Val and Bill Keith, among others."
Rest in peace, Everett.

“Keep a-Goin’”

Musician Everett Lilly of Clear Creek

By John Lilly
Photographs by Michael Keller

Everett Lilly
Everett Lilly of Clear Creek, Raleigh County. Photograph by Michael Keller.

Born in 1924, musician Everett Lilly has been going strong for nearly 85 years, living just a stone’s throw from the Clear Creek property where he was born. A casual observer might not realize that Everett, together with his late brother “B,” traveled the world over, performing and promoting the music of his Raleigh County home.
The Lilly Brothers, playing with neighbor Don Stover, introduced countless new fans to the down-home music of southern West Virginia at the peak of their popularity during the mid- to late 1960's. Singing tight, “brother” harmonies and playing at a breakneck tempo on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, they are generally credited with bringing authentic mountain music to New England in the 1950's and then, in the 1970's, to Japan.
One of seven children born to Burt and Stella “Stell” Lilly, Everett describes himself as one of the family’s “middle” children. He had four sisters: Flossie, Strossie, Ella, and Zettie. His older brother was named Michael Burt “B”; the youngest child in the family was brother Vivia. The ancestors of the Lilly family were among the earliest settlers to that part of West Virginia. [See “The Lost Village of Lilly,” by Jack Lilly; Summer 1998.]
Everett’s family farmed and lived without indoor plumbing or electricity, as did all of their neighbors. Burt was a carpenter by trade. He built houses, including the house where Everett was raised. He also taught Everett the carpentry trade; Everett himself built his current home, as he points out with a note of pride in his voice.
While he was growing up, Everett and his family spent much of their time at the local Methodist church, where Burt Lilly sang and played the pump organ. This was Everett’s introduction to music, he says. Many of the old hymns sung at this church, most taken from an old Shape Note hymnal, became integral to the Lilly Brothers’ repertoire in later years.
There was an old pump organ in their home, as well, and two of Everett’s sisters became proficient at playing it. “I had a sister. Her name was Ella,” Everett recalls. “She could really play an organ. She’d play all such stuff as ‘Ridin’ On that New River Train.’ She could tear it up!”
But keyboard music didn’t hold a deep attraction for Everett personally. “We never cared much for the organ and pianos,” Everett says. “I like them now more than I did in those days.” Instead, Everett and B were drawn to string music, which was becoming increasingly popular in their area.
At the age of four or six years old – Everett isn’t sure exactly how old he was – Everett and B began singing together. As Everett recalls, he initially sang the melody while B played guitar and sang harmony. The pair of precocious youngsters sang at church and entertained neighbors at family and community gatherings, singing hymns and traditional songs. Though Everett had already begun to teach himself to play the guitar, his father bought him a mandolin, which quickly became Everett’s main instrument. In addition to taking up the mandolin, Everett also taught himself to sing tenor harmony, leaving B to carry the melody on most songs and establishing the core of the distinctive “Lilly Brothers” sound they would carry with them throughout their careers.

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.

Source - http://www.wvculture.org/goldenseal/summer09/everett_lilly.html

The Lilly Brothers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Lilly Brothers
OriginWest VirginiaBoston, MassachusettsUSA
OccupationsBluegrass artists
Years active1950s – 1970s
Past members
Mitchell Burt "Bea" Lilly
Charles Everett Lilly
Don Stover
Benjamin F. Logan
Joe Val
The Lilly Brothers, (Bea Lilly, December 15, 1921 – September 18, 2005 and brother Everett Lilly, born July 1, 1924) were bluegrass musicians born in Clear Creek, West Virginia. They have been credited with bringing bluegrass to New England and with influencing such future bluegrass artists as Peter RowanJoe Valand Bill Keith, among others.[1]




Influenced by the traditional music they heard in their youth, Bea began playing the guitar and Everett the mandolin. In 1938, they made their radio debut on the Old Farm Hour show at WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia. Other radio works followed at WKLS in Beckley, West Virginia and on several other Southern radio stations during the 1940s.[2][3] In 1945, they appeared on the Molly O'Day radio show at WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee.[2] In 1948, the brothers signed with the WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia as members of "Red Belcher's Kentucky Ridge Runners",[4] but they quit two years later because of a financial dispute and the brothers retired temporarily. In 1951, Everett joined Flatt & Scruggs as mandolin player. The next year, in 1952, 'Tex' Logan, whom they had met at the WWVA Jamboree, persuaded the brothers to reunite.[2]

Everett Lilly (center, seated, with mandolin) and the Lilly Mountaineers, in performance in 2009
The Lilly Brothers moved to Boston and formed a group called the "Confederate Mountaineers" who consisted of the brothers on guitar and mandolin, Logan on fiddle, and Don Stover on banjo.[4] They performed on WCOP’s Hayloft Jamboree[3] and as a house band at local clubs such as the Plaza Bar, the Mohawk Ranch, and the Hillbilly Ranch.[4] Soon, they were making records for the Folkways,Prestige and Event labels.[2][5] Somewhere along the line they changed the group's name to the Lilly Brothers.
In the 1960s they appeared in concerts at several major colleges and at folk festivals.[3] The personnel of the Lilly Brothers didn't change between 1952 and 1970 and is considered one of bluegrass music's most stable lineups. The death of Everett Lilly’s son, Giles, in a car crash in 1970 brought to an end the brothers’ career in Boston and Everett left the town. For the remainder of the 1970s, the brothers would reunite on several occasions.[2] In 1973 the Lilly Brothers made a tremendously successful tour of Japan, including the release of three live albums.[6] The Lilly Brothers’ career was later chronicled in a 1979 documentary "True Facts in a Country Song".[5] In the 1980s, as Bea retired, Everett and his son Mark played together in the group "Clear Creek Crossin'".[2]
As of 2009, Everett Lilly continues to play and perform with his sons in a band called Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers.
"Bea" Lilly's correct name and birth date are Michael Burt Lilly born December 5, 1921.


Joe Val once said of the Confederate Mountaineers’ influence on urban Massachusetts, Those guys hit on like a bombshell. Nobody’d ever heard anything like that before.[5]
The Lilly Brothers’ singing has been described as rich, mountain-flavoured bluegrass and their brand of dynamic, no holds barred traditional bluegrass has been noted as haunting and earthy.


  • In 1986. the Lilly Brothers were inducted into the Massachusetts Country Music Hall of Fame and Don Stover was inducted the following year.
  • On October 17, 2002, the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.[4]
  • In November 2008, the Lilly Brothers were inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall Of Fame.


[edit]78 RPM

YearSong TitlesLabelNumber
1948"What Are They Doing In Heaven" / "They Sleep Now Together At Rest"Page505
1957"Tragic Romance" / "Are You Tired of Me, My Darling"EventE-4261
1959"John Henry" / "Bring Back My Blue-Eyed Boy To Me"EventE-4272


1962Folk Songs From the Southern MountainsFolkwaysFA 2433one side with Don Stover
1963Bluegrass BreakdownPrestige FolkloreFL14010with Don Stover
1964The Country Songs of the Lilly BrothersPrestige FolkloreFL14035
1970Early RecordingsCounty729with Don Stover, recorded 1956-57
1973What Will I Leave BehindCounty742with Don Stover
1974Holiday in Japan, Part 1TowaTWA 101Swith Don Stover, live in Japan
1974Holiday in Japan, Part 2TowaTWA 102Swith Don Stover, live in Japan
1974Holiday in Japan, Part 3TowaTWA 103Swith Don Stover, live in Japan
1996Live at Hillbilly RanchHay HollerHHCD1333recorded in Boston, July 1967
2001Live at Tamarack 2001Lilly Bros5704with the Lilly Mountaineers
2002On the Radio 1952-1953Rounder1109with Don Stover
2003West Virginia, Oh How I Miss YouLilly Broswith the Lilly Mountaineers

[edit]Compilations and reissues

1977Bluegrass BreakdownRounderSS01reissue of Prestige FL14010
1977The Lilly Brothers - Country SongsRounderSS02reissue of Prestige FL14035
1991Early RecordingsRebel1688reissue of County 729
1999The Prestige/Folklore Years, Vol 5: Have a Feast Here TonightPrestige9919CD reissue of Prestige FL14010 and FL14035
2001Newport Folk Festival - Best Of Bluegrass 1959-66VanguardVCD-187-89-22-CD set, includes 5 live tracks by the Lilly Brothers
2003What Will I Leave BehindRebel1788reissue of County 742
2005Bluegrass at the RootsFolkwaysSWF40158reissue of Folkways FA2433 plus 2 unreleased tracks

[edit]Video appearances

1979"True Facts in a Country Song"Burt/Chadwick16mm/DVD29 minute documentary by Susan Burt & Doug Chadwick
2005Festival!Eagle VisionDVDNewport Folk Festival 1963-66, various artists
2006Bluegrass Country SoulTime LifeDVDCamp Springs, NC Bluegrass Festival 1971, various artists
I am the Doug Chadwick who made the documentary with Susan Burt. We shot 16mm and the resultant film was shown on West Virginia Public TV many times. However I am new to editing Wikipedia, any help here?


  1. ^ Carr, Munde 1996, p. 108.
  2. a b c d e f Carlin 2003, p. 233.
  3. a b c Jones 2008, p. 244.
  4. a b c d Erbsen 2003, p. 49.
  5. a b c Wolff, Duane 2000, p. 231.
  6. ^ Black 2005, p. 50.
  7. ^ Pennell, Charley (November 10, 2009). "Blue Grass Singles by Artist"Discography of Bluegrass Sound Recordings, 1942 -ibiblio. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  8. a b Spottswood, Dick (2005). "Some Notes for This Reissue" (PDF). Bluegrass At The Roots, 1961. Smithsonian Folkways. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  9. ^ Pennell, Charley (February 13, 2010). "Blue Grass LPs by Artist, La-Lz"Discography of Bluegrass Sound Recordings, 1942 -ibiblio. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  10. ^ Sparks, Beth. "Discography"Music of The Lilly Mountaineers & The Lilly Brothers. The Lilly Mountaineers. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  11. ^ "Prestige Records Catalog". Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved March 17, 2010.


  • Black, Bob (2005) Come Hither To Go Yonder, University of Illinois Press
  • Carlin, Richard (2003) Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary, Taylor & Francis
  • Carr, Joe - Munde, Alan (1996) Prairie Nights To Neon Lights: The Story of Country Music In West Texas, Texas Tech University Press
  • Erbsen, Wayne (2003) Rural Roots of Bluegrass: Songs, Stories and History, Mel Bay Publications
  • Jones, Loyal (2008) Country Music Humorists and Comedians, University of Illinois Press
  • Wolff, Kurt - Duane, Orla (2000) Country Music: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides

[edit]External links

Updated 5/8/12, 10am

Everett Lilly passes

 | May 8, 2012
Bluegrass has lost another pioneer.
Everett Lilly, who played with Flatt & Scruggs but is best known for joining his brother Bea, Tex Logan and Don Stover in the Lilly Brothers, died today, his son Everett announced in an email to friends and fans. He was 87.
“May he join his brother, Bea, and Don Stover today and may they once again perform alongside the other great pioneers who made this wonderful music what it is,” the younger Everett said. “He lived to do that.”
Everett started his mandolin-playing career in his beloved West Virginia, playing at an early incarnation of the Wheeling Jamboree. He played two stints with Lester and Earl, only to rejoin his brother to tour, first as the Confederate Mountaineers and then as the Lilly Brothers. They found special success in the Boston area, where they lived and played for some time, and in Japan, where they had a large following. A tour of Japan in 1973 resulted in three live albums, Holiday in Japan, parts one, two and three. The band also played at the Newport Folk Festival and at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.
The Lilly Brothers were inducted into IBMA’s hall of honor in 2002 and into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Bea Lilly died in 2005.
Everett Lilly continued performing until his death, joining sons Mark and Daniel as Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers.
Thanks to Fred Robbins for sharing this recording of The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover and Tex Logan at the Culpepper festival in 1973.
LillyBrothers 1973: 

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