PUTNEY >> Low Lily may be a relatively new band, but the Brattleboro-based trio possesses a finely honed chemistry that can only come from many years of both musical and personal familiarity.
The group is an offshoot of Annalivia, an acclaimed Celtic-roots ensemble co-founded by Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar) and Flynn Cohen vocals, mandolin, guitar), whose musical partnership predates their marriage. They are joined by fiddler extraordinaire Lissa Schneckenburger whose musical partnership with Flynn, predates Annalivia.
The players draw from their diverse musical backgrounds. Simmons grew up listening to her mother sing traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America, as well as the New Orleans brass music her father played. Cohen has shared the stage with a wide range of players, including the legendary Irish Accordion player John Whelan, modern bluegrass band Tony Watt & Southeast Expressway, as well as Aoife Clancy, Cathie Ryan, Jake & Taylor Armerding, Women of Ireland, and The Vancouver Symphony. Schneckenburger Lissa is a graduate of The New England Conservatory of Music and performed with Solas and Childsplay, and was a founding member of the fiddle group Halali.
Together, Low Lily's three-part harmonies, lush arrangements, and high-energy instrumentals display their eclectic musical passions.
In an email exchange, I asked Simmons about the band's chemistry. "Flynn and I do have that couple's chemistry that comes from playing together for years, and from knowing each other so well. Working together is great because our calling in life is something we share, and we get to spend lots of time together– at home and traveling. The cool thing is that Lissa and Flynn have known each other longer than I've known either of them. They met when Lissa was, I believe, 19 years old, when Flynn joined her fiddle band Halali."
"By the time the three of us formed Low Lily, we had collaborated here, there, and everywhere. So there's history there- musically, and as friends and as part of the greater acoustic music community. Flynn and I have a dual plucked-string and vocal sound that we've honed over the years, and Lissa brings her incredible fiddle chops and warm alto voice to the mix."
The group will be bringing that mix to their neighbors and friends at Next Stage in Putney on Saturday, opening for the popular Scottish band Cantrip. For Simmons, playing at home can be a bit nervous-making, which is not necessarily a bad thing. "I find it much easier to play to 1,000 anonymous people than to a small crowd with many familiar faces. But in some ways it can be more fun too. There's nothing like the attendance and support of family, friends and fellow musicians to give us that extra nudge to create an epic night of music."
Cantrip and Low Lily, will be at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill Rd., Putney, on Saturday. Tickets are $20. For information call 802-387-0102 or visit www.nextstagearts.org