Sister Lucille: More Great Things Than They Wished For

by Ed Peaco

Since she was a youngster, Kimberly Dill had always responded to the call of the horns and sought an opportunity to make an album with them. Jamie Holdren always wanted to collaborate with the iconic Memphis band, FreeWorld.

With Sister Lucille’s new album, “Alive,” these wishes have been granted, as well as other exciting things that they never wished for. One such surprise was that the album debuted on iTunes at No. 4 in the top 100 — the only indie band.

Sister Lucille comprises Kim (vocals), Jamie (guitar), Kevin Lyons (drums) and Eric Guinn (bass). They will hold a CD release event, 7 p.m. Saturday, November 16, at The Riff.

Earlier in the process, Jamie said, he was looking for a recording engineer to solve his mixing problems.

“So, I sent an email to Jim Scott. What can it hurt?” Jamie said.

The legendary producer and sound engineer, based north of Los Angeles, looked into Sister Lucille and decided to work with the band, Jamie said. As a result, Jamie and Kim headed west to Jim’s studio.

Kim said she was delighted with Jim’s work — “He made the album come to life,” she said.

With one of the album’s standout songs, “Devil’s Eyes,” Jamie tells a macabre tale in a mesmerizing minor key. Jared Dover plays a muted trumpet to enhance the mystery of the song.

Then Jim worked with the track. Kim said, “If you listen to this song, you will really hear his magic.” She requested that the trumpet be placed up in the mix along with her vocal for added emphasis.

Notes on songs of “Alive”

“Think About You” was written by Jamie and sung by Mark “Muleman” Massey of Mississippi. The laid-back texture supports the sense of nostalgia and regret.

FreeWorld encouraged the song “99 Pounds,” Kim said. FreeWorld was the backing band for the revered vocalist Ann Peebles when she was in Memphis. The band asked Kim to perform “99 Pounds” as available. The song is also one of the horn tunes on the album.

Other songs with horns include “Won’t Give It” and “Wanna Love You,” as well as “W.O.M.A.N.,” on which Peter Climie takes a nimble baritone sax solo, then Chris Stephenson scatters a flurry of keys. All of these songs (and others) have vocals by Kim.

Kim wrote the title song about her path from a difficult illness toward healing, a time when she was on the West Coast.

“My love affair with California is why I wrote “Alive,” she said. “That’s where that song came from. It was me coming back to life, enjoying the little things, like the sun on your face.”

For the release event, Sister Lucille will expand to a six-piece, with Casey Kavanagh (keys and sax, Papa Green Shoes) and Carl Yendes (trumpet, Blue Plate Special).

Jamie summed up the project and the tenure of the band: “This album is us, finally learning who we are, as Sister Lucille — seven years later.”

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