2008 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)
Featuring Everett on vocals and mandolin along with his sons, Charles, Daniel and Mark Lilly, Marty Stuart, Rhonda and Darrin Vincent, Billy Walker, Ronnie & Rob McCoury, David Ball, Charlie Cushman, Larry Stephenson, Joe Spivey, Eddie Stubbs, Jason Carter, Dickey Lee, Freddy Weller, Mike Bub, Rad Lewis, Andy May, Marcia Campbell, Clay Rigdon, Eric Blankenship and Bill Wolfenbarger, this project is a celebration of Everett Lilly and the music he helped make internationally popular. The CD is dedicated to the memory of Charles Everett Lilly, Jr. (July 14, 1961-May 21, 2006) and Michel Burt “Bea” Lilly (December 5, 1921-September 18th, 2005).
Everett’s son, Charles— my best friend and co-writer (some may say co-conspirator!)— and I were talking about Everett and his music one day in May of 2005. We came up with the idea of getting Everett and “the boys” back in the studio to just record a good-time potpourri of songs. We felt that it had been some time since Everett had recorded, and we wanted him to be able to do another big project for both his enjoyment and for the many folks who have loved his music over the years. Everett agreed to do it with the condition that Charles and I produce the project. We gladly accepted the task at hand.
With such a long career filled with so many classic songs, choosing which ones to include on this CD was an enjoyable challenge. Some we chose, such as Get in Line Brother, and Waves on the Sea, were songs that Everett had helped to make famous; some were included because they were songs that Everett and the family performed and enjoyed over the years. Some are contemporary songs that are particularly meaningful. Everett especially wanted to include Will You Find Me Worthy? and, later, He Knew Me When He Was Hanging on the Cross, both sacred songs written by Charles and myself, and Savannah’s Not in Georgia, an original written by Daniel Lilly.
From the beginning, Charles and I wanted to be sure that anyone who was involved in this project—singing, picking, or in any other manner— was doing so in the spirit of “it’s all about Mr. Everett and the music.” As word spread in the small world of Nashville’s music “bidniss” that Everett was going back into the studio, we had musicians, who in some fashion or another had been influenced by Everett or The Lilly Brothers along the way, telling us, “If you’ve got room for me, I would love to be a part of this project.” The next thing we knew, we had “everybody and their brother” lined up for the project, each one doing their specialty— or just whatever was asked of them— out of respect for and in honor of Everett.
We started the project on June 6th, 2005 and recorded the basic tracks with the help of many of the performers you hear on the CD. We continued to work on the project on and off for nearly a year as schedules would allow. Many of the performers were out on the road much of the time and gave their time off to be a part of this event.
During this time, Charles was playing bass for Grand Ole Opry legend Billy Walker, who also contributed to this project. On May 21st, 2006, while returning from a show in Alabama, the band was in a tragic automobile accident. God called Charles Everett Lilly, Jr., along with Billy Walker, his wife Bettie, and guitarist Danny Patton, home to Him on that day.
Everett and I, along with other Lilly family members, decided that we needed to complete this project because that is what Charles would have wanted. We also decided to dedicate the project to Charles and to Bea, Everett’s brother with whom he had performed for so many years and who had gone home to be with the Lord September 18th, 2005.
So, it was back into the studio to both finish the project and provide some therapy for all of us who were so close to the tragedy. The end result is what we hope you will find to be a very enjoyable musical journey back to the roots of the music and forward again to include some newer songs inspired by the traditional music Everett helped make famous.
We hope you enjoy this project as much as we enjoyed doing it. We believe this will introduce a whole new audience to the legend of Everett Lilly. I think Marty Stuart summed up it best when he said,
I think when we all get to Heaven we’re gonna find out that Everett Lilly is God’s favorite mandolin player– and mine too!
Co-Producer & Honorary Lilly