Start with excellently matched vocals, add some world-class playing, sprinkle with raised-off-grid Americana and you get Low Lily. Flynn’s deft flatpicking on guitar and mandolin and Lissa’s virtuosic fiddle-playing are grounded by Liz’s percussive rhythm guitar playing, the sounds of which combine joyously in this stunning ensemble.
With a vocal blend that has been dubbed “outstanding” and “meticulous,” Low Lily’s cohesive sound comes naturally for musicians whose lives have been entwined on the road and onstage for almost two decades. Setting down roots in Brattleboro, Vermont, the band has crafted a signature sound which they have shared with enthusiastic audiences throughout North America and the UK, garnering two #1 songs on international folk radio and two New England Music Award nominations.
Chosen as Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s “Most Wanted Band” of 2016, Low Lily plays acoustic music that is deeply rooted in tradition yet sounds refreshingly contemporary. With their first full-album release, “10,000 Days Like These” (March 2018, following their 2015 self-titled EP release), Low Lily shares an intimate, no-tricks-involved, collection of songs that showcases their talents and proves them to be a formidable, ready-for-prime-time act. A first album this strong doesn’t come from newbies–all the members have performed with numerous well-known names in folk and traditional music. Flynn has toured with Ruth Moody, John Whelan, Cathie Ryan and Aoife Clancy. Liz has toured with Tom Chapin, Livingston Taylor, Melanie, and Long Time Courting. Lissa has toured as a solo act as well as with Solas and Childsplay.
Born in San Francisco to musician parents, Liz spent her early childhood traveling through the wilds of north America in a sky blue VW bus. Her parents were itinerant, moving from California to Oregon, then to Ketchikan, Alaska where they played regular gigs in the pubs for the locals. Liz and her sisters’ lullabies were traditional songs, and by day their soundtrack was the rock and roll and New Orleans brass music their parents played in their band.
Once the family settled in rural New Hampshire, Liz received classical musical training, but as her teen years drew to a close she found her way back to folk music. She was particularly drawn to the intersections of traditional music, and how they connect with contemporary sounds. In 2005, Liz received a BA from Goddard College where she studied American vernacular music of the 1920s and 30s. She then went on to found Annalivia (with Flynn Cohen) as well as perform alongside Long Time Courting, Hannah Sanders, EVA, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, and others.
Flynn, at the age of eleven, was drawn to the guitar after an injury left him unable to continue to pursue his passion for sports. When he was in his mid-teens, his aunt and uncle turned him onto the likes of Fairport Convention, Michael Hedges, The Bothy Band, and Pentangle. At the time, all he wanted was to play guitar like John Renbourn of Pentangle, so when the opportunity to study with Renbourn arose at the Dartington College of Arts in England, he jumped at the chance. He resided in England for three years, during which time he studied with Renbourn, and the great Davey Graham (inventor of DADGAD tuning). He continued to cultivate his skills in the accompaniment of Irish music, and paradoxically in England is where Flynn found bluegrass, which became his new obsession.
After graduating from Dartington, he headed to Oakland, CA to attend Mills College, where he immersed himself in the Irish trad and bluegrass music scenes there. Ultimately, he made his way to the east coast after a phone call with accordion champion John Whelan, who offered him the job as his guitarist. Once in Boston, he was also hired to accompany three incredible fiddle prodigies in their late teens – Laura Cortese, Hanneke Cassel, and Lissa herself. Flynn has also accompanied luminaries such as Adrienne Young, Cathie Ryan, Ruth Moody, and many more.
Raised in rural Maine, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother’s interest in folk music and a friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with renowned Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school Lissa was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the energetic New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec, with homegrown twists that have evolved since Colonial days.
Lissa was deeply influenced by the diverse musical community she found at fiddle camps, where she played with and learned from a wide variety of musicians including acclaimed Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. She also discovered the treasure trove of traditional New England songs and tunes, and spent years in the archives poring over old books of music, and unearthing versions of centuries-old songs. She studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston where she connected with the rich music scene there, and within which she continued to sculpt her authentic New England sound. Upon graduation, she proceeded to tour the world as a solo artist, as well as with great bands such as Solas, Childsplay and more.