Proto-Americana artist’s album—whose songs were recorded when he was just 21, and one was even covered by Waylon Jennings—arrives Oct. 16.
By Blurt Staff
The Denny Lile story is both remarkable and tragic: the Louisville, KY, singer/songwriter cut his debut album, Hear the Bang, in ’72, which in certain quarters earned comparisons to Neil Young’s Harvest and inevitably tags Lile as a true godfather of Americana. Unfortunately Lile’s alcoholism and accompanying erratic behavior deep-sixed his chances to ever be more than a local star. The album went on to attain cult-legend status, however, and despite Lile’s untimely death in 1995, it continued to find ears, including those of the Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess braintrust. As BLM head Bruce Watson put it, “I thought, ‘My God, I can’t believe nobody’s heard this,’” he recalls. “‘This guy’s a great singer-songwriter who never got his due. I’ve got to put this out!’”
The record is set for reissue on Big Legal Mess in mid-October, and BLURT has been blessed with the chance to unveil the title track for our readers. Check it out:
Hear the Bang: The Life and Music of Denny Lile, incidentally, is being packaged with a DVD documentary made by his 39-year old nephew, Jer, who assembled photos, music and interviews with family members, friends, fellow musicians and associates. They detail Lile’s once-promising career in Louisville that yielded the aforementioned album, which has been compared to Neil Young’s Harvest—not to mention placing a song, “Fallin’ Out,” with Waylon Jennings, who scored a top 10 single on the country charts. They also relate how Lile’s insecurity and alcoholism conspired to wreck both his personal and professional life.
Lile passed away far too early, at the age of 44, but music fans in the know continue to hold him in high esteem. This reissue and film should go a long way towards continuing that process of acknowledgment.