LILY VAKILI BAND
Set of Seven
Genre-transcendent songwriter and performer -Lily Vakili – has had a wild, freewheeling life: “I was born in Honduras during a military coup,” says the New Jersey-based artist, “and my dad, an artist and scientist, had to walk over bloodied soldiers in the hospital to welcome me to the world. He’s always said that set the stage for everything else in my life.”
Lily launched her recording career as a solo artist with Lake City/Next 3 Exits (produced by Bruce Hanson of Fellaheen) and Meadowlands (produced by James Mastro of Ian Hunter and the Rant Band and The Bongos) before expanding her sonic possibilities by forming a full band.
2018 saw the release of the band's first album - Oh Alright - produced by Ray Ketchem of Magic Door Recording. Today, the band includes her “right hand man,” lead guitarist Ben St. Jacques, who co-wrote the band's latest release - “She Wants What”; back up vocalist, Cecile Williams, harmonica player, Joel Dorow, and bassist Jim Tyndall and drummer Gordon Kuba, both of whom bring their jazz backgrounds to Lily’s eclectic musical realm.
The band is currently working on a second album titled Set of Seven. Among the new album's tracks – engineered and produced by David Amlen of Sound on Sound Studios (the renowned NYC recording studio, now relocated to Montclair, New Jersey) – is the lead single, a crackling, hard-rocking anthem defiantly titled “She Wants What,” released in October 2019 to rapturous reviews.
“This album is new, but some of the songs have been with me for a long time – just waiting for their moment,” she says. “Others are brand, spanking new and reflect the spontaneous, unadulterated joy of making music with people I love.”
Conceptually, Set of Seven finds Lily taking a unique dual perspective on life. The first is a view from 30,000 feet, seeing everything – clouds, fields, highways –a truly universal overview that everyone can connect with. She balances that with a feet-on-the-ground, devil in the details granularity focusing on people’s day to day lives. This is an especially poignant emotional driver on songs like southern blues rocker “Freeman” (an observational gem about prisoners toiling in a northern Florida work camp – “Walked away from work camp, through Osceola State Park; down to Eustis, across the tracks…”) and the hope-doesn’t-die jersey-rocker “We Got Dreams” – “Jenny works at the corner store, making nothing, but hoping for more…”. Lily showcases a gentler side of her artistry with “When 21,” a lilting, swinging, blues-tinged tune reflecting on the mystique of young adulthood, asking “Who doesn’t want to be bright and young?” and “Dreamy Dreamer” a hymn-like song that speaks to people however they identify; “I’m telling them – as someone who has walked a ways down the road - to hold on, be generous, be free and unafraid.”.