Michael Lille
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Michael Lille

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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"Suitable Disguise - Michael Lille"

Suitable Disguise has the unmistakable resonance of a guy who's all the way there. His guitar playing is so deeply self-assured and so in tune with itself that it propels and leads the elite unit he gathered around himself in his second home of Austin TX, bassist Glen Fukunaga and co-producers Paul Pearcy on drums and Lloyd Maines on guitars, bari-mando, dobro, and lap and pedal steels. George Marinelli's absolutely signature guitar work adorns three cuts, always a stone groove.

But what sets the tone overall is the deep baritone that's telling the stories, of "Don't Have To Love You Anymore," "World Of Hurt" (co-penned with Jimmy LaFave and Dana Cooper, respectively) and an excellent read on Allen Toussaint's "On Your Way Down." He's all the way there as a person, as well, and you can hear that. His love of guitars, Harleys, and women, and of the stories that ripple out from all that and his global family of friends, it's all there.

Other amazing co-writers also appear. Tunesmith Craig Bickhardt shows up on the opener, which promises to be the radio pick, "Can't You Hear The Whistle Blow." The memorable Michael Johnson turns in a remarkable co-write on "Better Brother." Lille's well-known compadres in the popular folk ensemble The Sherpas, Tom Kimmel and Tom Prasada-Rao, share the spotlight, thankfully. Kimmel and Lille wrote "We Surrendered" and TPR co-wrote "The One Who Leaves." All together they composed the closer, "Love Won't Wait." TPR and the aforementioned Dana Cooper are among the many stirring vocalists, including co-writer Diane French, Eugene Ruffalo, the great Ruthie Foster, and two of my favorites, Kristin DeWitt and Sara Hickman (who's interviewed in this issue).

But I love the material that Lille writes alone, too, and two humorous numbers show up here. "Just Another Song" and the hidden bonus track that I'll let you discover for yourself. Once you hear it, you'll never forget it, and you'll laugh every time you think of it.

What need be said is that the cat is a rare prince, and the album is a joy. Check out the amazing read on the Mars Bonfire rock classic, "Born To Be Wild." Highly recommended.
• Frank Goodman - PureMusic.com


"Michael Lille "Suitable Disguise" Downstream"

IF "SUITABLE DISGUISE" confirms one thing, it's that singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael Lille excels at collaboration, even when he's recording a solo CD.

Best known in the Washington area for his association with folksters Speidel, Goodrich, Goggin & Lille, the Virginia native is in fine company on his new release, working alongside pedal steel guitar great Lloyd Maines, the album's co-producer, and several gifted musicians and tunesmiths. The songs co-written by Craig Bickhardt ("Can't You Hear the Whistle Blow"), Jimmy LaFave ("Don't Have to Love You Anymore") and Tom Prasada-Rao ("The One Who Leaves") rank among the highlights and complement a pair of whimsical, Lille-penned ditties: "I Loved Rosie" and "Just Another Song."

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A cover of "Born to Be Wild" comes off surprisingly well, thanks to a percussive string band arrangement, and much the same can be said for Lille's take on Allen Toussaint's philosophic blues "On Your Way Down." Both songs pose a challenge for Lille, who's accustomed to singing reflective ballads, but they come off without a hitch. It's hard to imagine what this album would have sounded like without Maines's terrific handiwork -- he plays dobro, pedal steel and lap steel guitars, among other instruments. Bonnie Raitt guitarist George Marinelli is also here.

Lillie caps what turns out to be his most consistently appealing solo effort yet with another surprise -- a hidden, honky-tonk send-up.

-- Mike Joyce - Washington Post


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"Suitable Disguise," the new solo project from Michael Lille was co-produced by Lloyd Maines and Paul Pearcy. Special guests include George Marinelli, (Bonnie Raitt band), John Hagan, (Lyle Lovett band), Ruthie Foster, Sara Hickman, The Sherpas, Dana Cooper, Eugene Ruffolo and Diane French.

Lille is also a member of The Sherpas with Tom Kimmel and Tom Prasada-Rao, as well as SGGL, a Washington DC based folk quartet with 4 CD's to their credit and sales of over 150,000 units.

A 1993 Kerrville New Folk winner and the winner of the 1996 Telluride Troubadour competition, Lille is also a well respected guitarist who has contributed his talents to many singer/songwriters in the folk community both in the studio and on the road.

"Suitable Disguise", Michael's 4th solo record (10th in all) features 11 original songs and covers of the Steppenwolf classic "Born To Be Wild" as well as Allen Toussaint's "On Your Way Down".

"Don't Have To Love You Anymore", a South American groove with tasty interplay between Lille on guitar and Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, "Born To Be Wild", a brand new take on an old favorite (watch for the Harley at the outro), "I Loved Rosie" featuring Lloyd's dobro work, harmony from Ruthie Foster and clever lyrics about a tattoo gone wrong. Other tunes include "World Of Hurt", co-written and sung with Dana Cooper, the Michael Johnson / Lille co-write "Better Brother" and the pop flavored "The One Who Leaves".

Lille has opened for Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, Alison Krauss, Leo Kottke, and has always had an A-list of session players and friends work on his recordings including Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Victor Wooten, Valerie Carter, George Marinelli and John Jennings.

Lille is also an outdoorsman, world traveler, whitewater kayaker and motorcycle enthusiast, having lived and worked in exotic locales such as New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Nepal and Bhutan. In 1999, after 7 years in Nashville, Michael moved to Colorado where he now works for ELIXIR® Strings, travels for gigs and spends as much time in the mountains as he can.