Live on Red Barn Radio presents John Lilly as the engaging and personable entertainer audiences have come to love over the years. Spot-on solo performances, accompanied by his own stellar guitar and mandolin work, are highlighted by lively spoken introductions and interview segments. This 60-minute program includes many of John's most-requested numbers, such as "Good News/Bad News," "Broken Moon," "Roadkill," "Spirit (Bend Close to Me)," "Blue Boy," "A Little Yodel Goes a Long Way," and others, along with two soon-to-be classics never before recorded: "This Old Knife" and "Tore Up from the Floor Up," which is presented here in its debut public performance. The set features John's trademark sense of humor, some poignant moments, and, of course, a little yodel.
Red Barn Radio is recorded and produced in Lexington, KY, and plays host to master old-time and bluegrass musicians from Kentucky and neighboring states. Through weekly conversation and performance with accomplished and authentic practitioners of Mountain Music, Red Barn Radio programming enlivens and archives a tradition grossly underrepresented on mainstream radio. Red Barn Radio is hosted by Brad Becker; the voice of Red Barn Radio is Tom Brown. The show is produced and directed by Ed Commons. This edition of Red Barn Radio was made possible with the financial support of Keeneland and LexArts.
John Lilly: Live on Red Barn Radio is a must-have for fans of John Lilly who wish to take home a souvenir of his memorable live show, and an excellent introduction to the music, repertoire and personality of this unique American performer.
Review from No Depression.com on February 25, 2010
One hour of uncomplicated pleasure from John Lilly, a consummate musician who seems way too nice to be in show business. There's no edge, no inflated ego, just a finely honed skill as musician, performer and writer. Listening to him on this disc, or seeing him on stage, is like seeing your favourite uncle good-humouredly take off his working jacket, pick up his guitar and play a few well-loved songs to while away the evening. There's a generosity of spirit in his performance and a really deep love for the music he plays.
Taking Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams as his starting point, John delves into the roots of mountain/country music, plays old tunes and songs that are familiar without necessarily being standards and then mixes in his own songs which generally sound like old standards themselves. He operates in what might be called the Heritage Folk scene, where generally much is made of faithfulness to the tradition and there's a lot of po-faced seriousness about, but John Lilly never falls into that. His warmth, sincerity and, above all, his genial good humour make him an entirely likeable performer. A couple of his own songs featured here are typical of his gentle humour: A Little Yodel Goes A Long Way and Roadkill are both going to make you chuckle. 'Roadkill's' pay-off line is 'I'm the roadkill on the highway of your heart' - wry, rather than bitter, at the end of the affair.
The range of his enthusiasm takes him from Jimmie Rodgers and country blues through the mountain folk tradition right up to where Hank Williams morphs into rock and roll but when he takes Rod Stewart's Gasoline Alley and makes it sound like a jig for a dirt floor barn dance, then you know this man's ears are wide open for a good tune, wherever it comes from. His guitar and mandolin playing manages to be precise and relaxed at the same time, an easy pleasure on the ear.
Live on Red Barn Radio seems to be an hour of transmission unedited which means we get all the intro's, a bit of interview between the presenter and John Lilly and all the station blurb, including thanks to the sponsors. Well I don't mind a bit of atmosphere for context but you really don't need all of that everytime you hear the disc; still, it's a minor complaint. John Lilly is as fine an exponent of old-time country music as you'll find and this collection of songs old and new is a fine way to make his acquaintance.