Lilly Drumeva - Lovin' You

Lilly Drumeva – Lovin’ You

Lilly Drumeva
Lovin’ You
No Label
No Number

Lilly Drumeva divides her latest recording into two segments. The larger segment she recorded in Prague with Monogram, a Czech bluegrass band featuring guitarists/vocalist Jakub Racek, mandolinist Zdenek Jahoda, banjoist Jarda Jahoda, and bassist Pavel Lzicar. The nine songs they record together are predominantly covers of well-known bluegrass tunes. Four of them—“Molly And Tenbrooks,” “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’,” and “I Am A Pilgrim”—are standards. Of them, “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” stands out, partially transformed from its usual stomp into something of a wistful lament. The nonstandards are “Nellie Cain,” “If I Needed You,” Gillian Welch’s “Red Clay Halo,” and Jimmy Newman’s “Cry, Cry Darling.” Drumeva’s original “Turn Away,” a lively tune about leaving England’s rain and wind for the sun and blue skies of the Balkans, rounds out the Prague sessions. All are enjoyable and well-played, though the arrangements, particularly of the standards, are just that—standard.

The smaller Bulgarian segment of the tunes finds Drumeva backed by her regular band, Lilly Of The West, a group currently consisting of guitarist Yasen Vasilev, fiddler Ivan Penchev, bassist Svoboda Bozduganova, and percussionist Borislav Bojadjiev. With these six tracks, the interest comes up a notch. Here, the material is more outside the norm, with only the lush, moody “Tennessee Waltz” having even a remote tie to bluegrass. Instead, there’s a cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ragtime “Lovin’ You,” two intriguing Bulgarian folk tunes (in interesting time signatures) about freedom fighters, a swing treatment of one of Jimmie Rodgers’ lesser heard tunes,“When The Cactus Is In Bloom,” and a straight jazz performance of “Pennies From Heaven.”

Putting the two segments together, Lovin’ You rises above average on the strengths of good singing, good instrumental work, and the interesting material found in the Bulgarian segment.  BW