The Lilly Brothers

What Will I Leave Behind

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In 1973, young progressive musicians attempted to add folk and rock elements to bluegrass. If the new music didn't offend old-timers, Bill C. Malone once noted, their long hair did. In the midst of this revolution, a number of musicians stayed the course and continued to deliver traditional bluegrass for the pure at heart. The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, in fact, never sounded better than on 1973's What Will I Leave Behind, a bluegrass/gospel effort filled with lovely harmony and no-nonsense accompaniment. The straightforward arrangements feature guitarist/vocalist Bea Lilly, mandolinist/vocalist Everett Allen Lilly, banjoist/vocalist Don Stover, and bassist Kevin Smith. The quartet holds forth on a dozen old songs, including "I Would Not Be Denied," "On the Sunny Side of Life," and "What Would the Profit Be." The beauty of the project is its simplicity, with the quartet adorning but never overwhelming gems like "In a Little Village Churchyard." This allows the emotion and conviction of the lyrics to come forward. Interestingly, both the Lilly Brothers and Stover came from above the Mason-Dixon Line -- New England and West Virginia, respectively -- and What Will I Leave Behind is the only religious album the Lilly Brothers ever recorded. Listeners will be glad they did. Whether one enjoys gospel, bluegrass, or old-timey songs simply rendered, What Will I Leave Behind offers a fine introduction to the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover.

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