Music Monday: Lillie Mae + Mandolin Orange

I’m excited about today’s Music Monday! If you love bluegrass country with lots of mandolin and banjo, you’ll love both of the artists I’m going to talk about today.

First up, Lillie Mae! Previously a member of her family band, Jypsi, Lillie Mae Rische grew up surrounded by talented musicians and country/bluegrass influence. Jypsi, in which she served as fiddle player and lead singer, became quite successful on the downtown Nashville strip, playing at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, as well as landing gigs at notable music festivals like Bonnaroo and Stagecoach. Eventually, Jack White of The White Stripes caught wind of Mae and asked her to join his all-female band as a fiddler and mandolin player. White, who also runs his own label, Third Man Records, ended up producing a handful of songs for Mae, which turned into her full-blown debut solo LP, Forever And Then Some. It was released in April 2017.

I recently discovered Lillie Mae while on my family’s annual trip to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to visit relatives. She was playing at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence, just across the water. Though I did not end up going to see her, my aunt told me about her and recommended I give her a listen. Forever And Then Some is fantastic, I very quickly realized. Her sound is so atmospheric, romantically bluegrass and exquisitely authentic. It sounds like you’re actually sitting in the room with them while they’re playing; it is truthful and organic and real. Lillie Mae wrote every song on the album, some by herself, and others with her sister, Scarlett Rische. My favorite tracks are “Wash Me Clean”, “Honest and True”, and “Honky Tonks and Taverns”. I feel like you get a strong sense of Mae’s personality through her music, and that adds another layer of honesty and sincerity. 10/10 highly recommend Lillie Mae! I can’t wait to hear more from her in the future.

Forever And Then Some album cover (pc: taken from
(pc: taken from Third Man Records’ website)
Mae playing in Jack White’s band (pc: taken from Pinterest)

To follow Lillie Mae, there is another act I wanted to talk about today that is very similar in sound and likeness – Mandolin Orange. I discovered them while listening to Spotify radio one day, and fell in love. Based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin make up the bluegrass/folk duo. Their music is simply whimsical. It’s the type of music I want to listen to as I drive through the country on a sunny day, the type of day where there’s not a cloud in the sky and the temperature is just right. Mandolin and banjo, laced with pedal steel and carried by gentle harmonies, their music is peaceful and relaxing and soulful. My favorite tracks from them are “Wildfire” , off of their 2016 record, Blindfaller, as well as “Waltz About Whiskey” off of This Side Of Jordan, released in 2013. Give them a listen next time you’re feeling stressed and need to take a mental break – you won’t regret it.

mandolin orange
Emily and Andrew of Mandolin Orange (pc: taken from their Twitter)
blindfaller .jpg
Blindfaller album cover (pc: taken from their website)
(pc: Boston Concert Photography)

I’d say you’ll get your daily dose of country from both of these artists – if you go listen to them, or are already a fan, let me know in the comments below! Are there any country/bluegrass artists you can recommend for me?

Much love, and happy Music Monday. 


(I own none of the photos used in this post – see captions for credits)

© Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



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