It was standing room only Saturday at the Square Room for the Whiskey Angel CD release party by Cruz Contreras’ new band The Black Lillies. This strong freshman effort of rock- and blues-tinged Americana should put to rest any concerns that Cruz’s musical career peaked as the “CC” of Robinella and the CC String Band.
The group of musicians Cruz assembled for Whiskey Angel played more like a seasoned ensemble than a band playing their first real show together. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the band includes local heavyweights Leah Gardner (the Maid Rite String Band), Jamie Cook and Tom Pryor (the everybodyfields and Whiskey Scars), Jeff Woods (Dark Mountain Orchid), and Cruz’s brother Billy Contreras.
This album marks a number of firsts for Cruz: first time writing and producing an album, first time as frontman, and the first time he’s truly unveiled his unique voice. And if this first show is any indication, The Black Lillies are a new force to be reckoned with in the Knoxville music scene.