If you ask Lula Wiles about their self-titled debut album, they’ll be quick to tell you it was a long time coming. The album’s eleven original songs were written over the course of the preceding four years, tested and lived in on stages and in bedrooms and backyards in Maine and Boston, and reborn in November and December 2015 through the band’s collaboration with producer/ guitarist Adam Iredale-Gray and drummer Sean Trischka. Self-released on May 27, 2016, the album is Lula Wiles’ first creative statement, an exploration of their sound. The band is deeply rooted in traditional folk music, but equally deep is their devotion to modern songcraft. The songs span from heartbreak-drenched acoustic ballads to honky-tonk swagger to contemporary grit and back again, all anchored by rich vocal harmonies. Their lyrics are fiercely honest, littered with reinvented folk tropes and evocative images – a rainy field of daisies, a dusty bar lit by Christmas lights, an unmade bed. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan calls the record “a stunning collection of self-penned songs about love, loss, and drinking – the perfect blend of modern and timeless.” The three band members swap instruments and frontwoman duties, with six songs penned and sung by fiddler/guitarist Ellie Buckland, four by fiddler/ guitarist Isa Burke, and one by bassist Mali Obomsawin. Onstage, the band gathers tightly around a single microphone for a spirited live show that resonates like a whiskey-slap to the heart.
Though the band is young, all the members of Lula Wiles have spent their lives grounded in songs. Born in Maine to musical families, they began playing music together as kids at Maine Fiddle Camp, and eventually each made their way to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. Isa and Ellie began performing as a duo in 2013, and Lula Wiles was born when Mali joined the band a year later. When Lula Wiles performs, the band’s many years of friendship are clear from their effervescent vocal blend and electrifying musical chemistry. Now based in Boston's thriving and close-knit roots music community, Lula Wiles have performed at premier festivals and clubs throughout the East Coast, including Club Passim, the Sinclair, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Fresh Grass Festival, and Green River Music Festival. They were also selected as Official Showcase Artists for the 2016 Folk Alliance International conference. Roots authority No Depression predicts Lula Wiles “will be a huge force on the Americana scene for years to come.” All proficient vocalists, multi-instrumentalists, and songwriters, the three women of Lula Wiles are each uniquely powerful in their own right; but combined, they are a force to be reckoned with.