Lillyanne McCool - Back To The Ozarks
  • Hop High
  • Back To The Ozarks
  • Garfield's Blackberry Blossom
  • Just To Hear You Call Me Darlin'
  • Glory In The Meeting House
  • Whole World 'Round
  • Last Chance
  • Behold The Lamb
  • Grace Anne
  • Raining In The Ozarks
  • Angelina Baker
  • When The Music's Done
Biography
Contact Information: Crystal McCool, (870)214-1053,
themccoolclan@gmail.com

Back To The Ozarks
DK UPC: 195919928016
Release Date: Dec. 15, 2020

"Oh, WOW! When the Music's Done is absolutely stunning. ...such a moving, mature delivery- BRAVO!!! So beautiful, it's heartbreaking."- Aubrey Atwater

"Great, Tight Harmonies! Great instrumentation and arrangements as well as Great originals! A must have for fans and followers of Tradtional Bluegrass Music!"-Brett Smeltzer- DJ, The Bluegrass Jamboree

About the CD...
Every song on this CD was carefully handpicked in consideration of the song’s significance to the Ozarks and my heritage. Although some of them are new, the entire CD is laced with an ancient undertone akin to these hills I call home. Some songs are bluegrass and some are old-time. Some are a mix of both. To reject either one would be to reject my upbringing and culture. Some will have you dancing and some will have you crying. Some will place you in very heart of the Ozarks themselves. One of the songs is an old Dillards' song that was written about settling is the Arkansas woods “a hundred miles from a wagon track” with "a fiddle and a bow in a firelight glow", something that I and others could deeply relate to. I grew up in a modern day "Mayberry" and the "Darlin Family" were heroes of most folks in our area, so it was only befitting that I include it on my album. The rest are songs my family and I wrote or songs that are tradition American folk tunes.
I'd like to thank all of my friends, family, and others who have supported me in creating this record. It would have not been possible without them. I am not a musician that has had to defeat all odds in order to succeed. I find support wherever I find a kindred spirit, and there have been many. The Lord deserves all the praise, for He has blessed me with these individuals. My parents are, above the rest, vigilant in their efforts to help me. Yet, my family extends beyond blood and includes both the wonderful musicians that are featured on this record and those who are not. The lessons of my mentors are still present in every note. And though some are no longer with us, I'd like to thank the musicians who have continued to serve as an inspiration to me in every aspect of life.
This record is dedicated to our friend, Steve Gulley, who anticipated its release but was unable to see it. The songs live on even when the music's done.

Musicians:
Lillyanne McCool: banjo, lead & harmony vocals
Crystal McCool: keyboard, bass, lead & harmony vocals
Jackie McCool: guitar, banjo (track: 11)
Mary Parker: fiddle, harmony (track: 1)
Emily Phillips: fiddle (tracks: 3,5)
Jared Keen: mandolin (tracks: 1,5,7,9)
Clinton Johnson: mandolin (tracks: 2,4,6,8,10,11)
Turner Atwell: guitar (tracks: 2,4,11)

Produced, Mixed, & Mastered: Jon Raney
Recorded & Manufactured: Raney Recording Studio- www.raneyrecordingstudio.com
Photo Credits: REA Photography- reaphotography.org
Graphic Design: Jon Raney

About the songs on album in order:

1- Hop High (3:14) Traditional
Lillyanne McCool- banjo & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle & harmony vocals
Jackie McCool- guitar
Jared Keen- mandolin

This old traditional tune has been a favorite of my family’s for years and one of the first songs I performed. Sometimes known as Lulu Gal, or Hop High My Lulu Gal, this song carries many verses that are interchangeable in numerous old time songs. This is one of the songs that helped me to fall in love with the drive of a clawhammer banjo. My best friend, Mary Parker, is the fiddler on this song. I love the tight, rhythmic connection we feel when she and I are playing together. My parents call us The Dynamic Duo and we almost feel like we have superpowers when we play together.

2- Back To The Ozarks (3:08) Written by Crystal & Lillyanne McCool
Lillyanne McCool- banjo & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle
Turner Atwell- lead guitar
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin


This song was the first song that I ever wrote with my mom. Mom started writing the song one summer while we were at Midwest Banjo Camp in Olivet, Michigan. She was missing the hills of home and was trying to find a way to be productive while I was taking classes during the day. She had the first verse and chorus written and then she laid it aside and didn’t mess with it again until fall. She picked it back up and was having me play the banjo on it. I asked her if I could write a verse and she was thrilled that I was showing an interest in songwriting, which is a passion she inherited from her mom. When I came back with the second verse, she cried. The second verse is about how the musicians and folks gather in the evenings around our court square to jam every night, weather permitting. The square is packed with different groups of people jamming, singing, dancing, and enjoying the music. I’ve grown up falling asleep while my folks were jamming into the middle of the night on the square. I use to crawl inside my mom’s bass case and zip myself up to sleep. Now, I’m jamming right along with them. The music we share brings us together and creates bonds between people. Mountain View, AR is the self-proclaimed Folk Music Capital of the World and we take a lot of pride in trying to live up to that title.

3- Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom (2:23) Traditional

Lillyanne McCool- banjo
Emily Phillips- fiddle

This is one of the traditional songs that I played in the Arkansas State Banjo Competition in 2018. I came to love this tune while listening to both Lukas Pool’s and Adam Hurt’s versions of the song. Lukas Pool is a banjo player and banjo builder in my town. He taught me the song first. I then learned it from Adam Hurt who lives in Danville, Virginia. Some say that it was given the name Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom during the Civil War because of Gen. Garfield’s fondness for the tune. Some say it is just to keep it separate from another tune known as Blackberry Blossom. The fiddle player on this tune was Emily Phillips, a fabulous old time fiddler that I grew up admiring. Featuring only banjo and fiddle, the fundamental instruments and ultimate duo for old-time music, Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom is about as traditional as you can get.

4- Just To Hear You Call Me Darlin’ (3:11) Written by Crystal and Lillyanne McCool

Lillyanne McCool- banjo & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle
Turner Atwell- lead guitar
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin

This is another song my mom and I wrote. The song describes a girl falling head over heels for a boy despite the fact that she never showed interest in any other boy before. She was always guarding her heart and didn’t let anyone in. It’s Beauty and the Beast mixed with a Hallmark Christmas movie to simplify it.

5-Glory In The Meeting House (2:41) Traditional

Lillyanne McCool-banjo
Emily Phillips- fiddle
Crystal McCool- bass
Jared Keen- mandolin

This is one of my favorite songs on the CD and is a perfect example of how the two genres of bluegrass and old-time can mix stylistically. The song is a traditional old-time tune with the funkiest back beat you have ever heard a banjo play. My mother (bass) and my brother(mandolin) really made this song come to life as I had envisioned it. I derived a lot of inspiration from Bruce Molsky’s version of this song. He is another fabulous old-time fiddle player. I would often play his recording just to jam along with him. During this time is when I came up with my main ideas of how I wanted to arrange the song. The result is a sound that will make you feel like you’re being chased through the woods. I find myself trying to speed when listening to it while driving. It’ll make you feel alive.

6- Whole World ‘Round (3:00) Written by Mitch Jayne and Joe Stuart, Recorded by The Dillards PRO & Publishing: ASCAP/Lansdowne Music/Winston Music

Lillyanne McCool- banjo (clawhammer/gourd) & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin

There is not a better sound to encompass my feeling toward my hills (Ozarks) better than this. This is an old Dillards’ song written by Mitch Jayne and Joe Stuart. It is about wanting to leave your current life and settle in a secluded spot in the Arkansas woods. I see the Ozark hills as a sanctuary of sorts, and it’s very hard for me to be away from them for too long. It’s even harder when I’m in a place with absolutely no hills or mountains. I feel exposed and venerable, so Whole World ‘Round is a song I can really relate too. These hills are ancient mountains: a gift from God to those seeking refuge and comfort.

7-Last Chance (2:11) Traditional
Lillyanne McCool- banjo
Crystal McCool- bass
Mary Parker- fiddle
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Jared Keen- mandolin

This is another favorite of mine. Featuring Mary as the fiddle player, this song is one of the most driving and uplifting of this collection. This is also another song I have played in contests, but I’d much rather play it in a group than solo. Last Chance is quite a foreboding name for such a light-hearted tune, and yet, at the same time, it’s befitting. I would absolutely love to do a square dance to this version of this song, but I also love to play it. The dilemma of every musician. If only you could square dance with a banjo!

8-Behold The Lamb (3:45) Written by Jackie McCool

Lillyanne McCool- banjo & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin

Behold The Lamb was written by my father, Jackie McCool, when I was a very small girl. He recorded the song with the bluegrass gospel band Lifted Up when I was five years old. I lost my first tooth while sitting in a chair next to the producer’s mixing board. The producer stopped the recording to let me tell everyone through the microphone that I lost my tooth. Fun memories! Lifted Up was composed of my parents, my brother, and Clinton Johnston, all of whom are on this CD. The song is written from the point of view of a witness at the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion. I’ve heard this song all my life and it is still one of my favorite gospel songs.

9- Grace Anne (4:03) Written by Lillyanne McCool

Grace Anne is an instrumental I wrote on the banjo this year (2020). I can’t give a specific inspiration for this song, it really just happened. Those who know me seem to recognize myself in the song. It’s probably because it sounds a little like it belongs in a fairytale but carries a sense of nostalgia with it. I’ve always been a big fan of fairy tales and drawn to more traditional things. However, I think if a grown woman were granted a glimpse into her childhood dreams, this sound would undoubtedly feel familiar.

10- Raining In The Ozarks (3:33) Written by Crystal McCool
Lillyanne McCool- banjo & lead vocals
Crystal McCool- bass & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle
Jackie McCool- rhythm guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin

This song was written by my mother before I was born and I have always loved it. She wrote it coming back from Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival in Waldron, AR. It was raining very hard, and, according to her, the rhythm of the song sounds like the gentle thump of the windshield wipers. The theme of this song is rooted in lost hope: the effort to help someone who refuses to be changed. We all have people that we love who will not listen to reason or advice, even though it is for their own good. Nevertheless, we are all guilty, to some degree, of not heeding the words of others. We must realize that our actions not only affect us, but others as well. Most notably, of course, our closest companions.

11- Angelina Baker (3:07) Traditional
Lillyanne McCool- clawhammer banjo
Jackie McCool- 3 finger banjo
Crystal McCool- bass
Mary Parker- fiddle
Turner Atwell- guitar
Clinton Johnson- mandolin

This song became known to me early in life. My father would play it on the banjo and I would dance for him. The traditional American tune remains to this day one of the most special songs to me. It is a staple instrumental in jam sessions in our area as well as a standard square dance tune. This track features both me and my father on banjo. I played the old-time clawhammer style and he played the bluegrass three finger style. Because of the changes in the song’s tempo as a result of the arrangement, it had to be cut live. Everybody had to get it right at the same time. Of all the songs on the CD, this was the least tampered with. It was endearing to me to be able to play this with my father who first introduced me to the tune as a little girl and has been my banjo mentor.

12- When The Music’s Done (4:23) Written by Crystal and Lillyanne McCool
Lillyanne McCool- lead & harmony vocals
Crystal McCool- piano, lead & harmony vocals
Mary Parker- fiddle

When The Music’s Done is truly unlike the other songs on this CD. The only instruments used on it were piano (mom) and fiddle (Mary). We began writing the song as tribute to two dear musician friends of mine (Anna and Gabi) who I have been in a band with ever since I could hold my own on the banjo. The two girls were part of Twang All Girl String Band along with me, my mom, and another girl about my age. Anna and Gabi are a year older than me, so last year they were seniors while me and the other girl (Becca) were juniors. It became clear that soon our band was going to be inactive as Anna and Gabi were leaving for college. As my mom and I began writing this song, the pandemic hit in our area and we went into lockdown. I was booked to begin recording this album the week the of the shutdown and we were unable to start. The song began to morph as not only the band I played in with the girls was coming to an end, so were all the festivals, camps, and contests that I had participated in each year. Everything was shutting down. These were the places that I went to be with the kindred spirits that I call family and friends. We were getting word that we were losing some dear friends during this pandemic and this song took on a whole new meaning for us. We cried a lot as we were writing it. We cried as we recorded it. It touches that part of our heart that grieves for our loved ones and days gone by.
https://youtu.be/ouzeSff10Fk


About me (Biography):

My first attempt at playing an instrument occurred when I was 5 or 6 years old. After my brother’s refusal to play the fiddle, I was my mom’s last hope. She was desperate to have a fiddle player in the family and began teaching me at a very young age. I couldn’t bear the sour notes (a part of every fiddle player’s journey) and soon followed in my brother’s footsteps, casting away the devil’s instrument. It wouldn’t be until 4th grade that I picked up another instrument. The coercion of my earlier years had left a disdainful sense against the fiddle and lead me to choose the fiddle’s one true adversary: the banjo.

Now, it should be said that I was never forced to play any instrument, but the extreme measures taken by my mother at the time in order to have a fiddle player are too humorous to not dramatize. My entire family is musically gifted and have been very supportive. I attended my first jam when I was 1 day old, and I attended my first show on stage at 6 days old; my mom wore me in a bag across her back while she played the bass. Several months later, I would take my first steps on the same stage.

I live in Mountain View, Arkansas. Self-proclaim Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View is nestled in the Ozark hills and rich in both old-time music and old-time ways. This legacy is maintained largely by the community’s effort to pass this sound to the next generation. I started learning banjo in the Music Roots program provided at my school. From 4th grade to 8th grade, this program provides students with free lessons on the American folk instrument of their choice. The students still interested in their instrument by the end of 4th grade are put in what is called Ensemble the students learn how to work together as a band. The first band I was put into was called Bigfoot Stompers, which was really a smorgasbord of a lot of different students. The second band I was in wasn’t a product of Ensemble. It was a group called Upjumpers consisting of Scott and Sha Pool (family friends and owners of the local music store), my mom, my dad and myself. Both groups were mainly Old-time. The third band I was in was called Twang All Girl String Band. I was grouped up with three other girls about my same age and my mom was casted as the bass player and band coach. We weren’t solely an old-time band, and we played songs from other genres with our own personal twist. This band has been by far the most fun. As we played, performed, and learned together, we became closer than friends and more like sisters.

Along the way, I competed in many different musical competitions. Some were band competitions, and some were specifically for banjo. In some, I placed 1st. Most notably, I won the National Old Time Banjo Competition in 2018. In others, I didn’t. Whatever the results were, I made many lifelong relationships with amazing musicians.

Currently, I am 17 years old and in about 4 bands. Most of them are inactive, for reasons that need not be explained. I should make mention of the fact that I am writing this in the year 2020, a year in which everything is uncertain. However, I look forward to continuing to perform in the future when times are better. Although this year has brought many woes, it is the year in which my first solo CD titled “Back to the Ozarks” has been released. I’d say that is a definite plus.



7
  • Members:
    Lillyanne McCool
  • Sounds Like:
    The Becky Buller Band, Steve Gulley, The Special Consensus, Bruce Molsky, Adam Hurt, Mountain Heart, Crooked Still, Sideline, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Bluegrass Album Band, Tony Rice, Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss, Gillian
  • Influences:
    Steve Gulley, The Special Consensus, Becky Buller, Dirk Powell, Brittany Haas, Adam Hurt, Balsam Range, Third Tyme Out, Seldom Scene, Bruce Molsky, Gillian Welch, Rick Faris, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Lonesome River Band, Mountain Heart, Sideline, Cr
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
    12/28/20
  • Profile Last Updated:
    01/15/21 01:09:47

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