Lillie Mae Rische was born in Illinois and played with her parents and four siblings in their band The Risches. She was given her first fiddle at the age of 3 and was brought up in a family which mixed a bohemian wandering hippy lifestyle with isolated fundamentalism playing at RV parks in Texas, flea markets and fairgrounds. Singer/songwriter Jack “Cowboy” Clement discovered the band and invested heavily in the band, paying for their move to Nashville. When she was 12 years old, her father left the family and The Risches started playing at Layla’s. One of the sisters dropped out but the remaining four siblings began playing marathon sets. Without their father’s controlling influence, their appearance changed and the girls’ clothing and hairstyles became skimpier, wilder and more colourful.
When musical differences led to her brother leaving the band, Lillie Mae Rische moved to Alabama and teamed up with Jack White, playing fiddle on his 2012 and 2014 tours.
Lillie Mae Rische is still a member of Jack White’s all female backing band, The Peacocks.
Jack White heard Lillie Mae Rische’s singing and helped her make “Forever And Then Some”, releasing it on his Third Man label. The sound of the album reflected the years that she had spent playing in honky-tonk bars and included contributions from her brother Frank and one of her sisters Scarlett.
“Over The Hill And through The Woods” is a powerful opening song in which she describes the effect of the end of a relationship. “Years of control mean nothing now“.
“Honky Tonks And Taverns” has some lovely fiddle playing and is an up-tempo song of regret about past mistakes. “All the damage I’ve done is not lost and still lives on.”
“Wash Me Clean” is a beautiful song with a great melody and is another song of regret “There ain’t enough water to wash me clean“.
“Loaner” is slower and sadder. She is alone and her heart is in pieces. she is prepared to loan it out for one night only. “It’s a loaner. You can’t take it with you but you can take me home tonight”.
In “Honest And True”, she is telling her prospective lover that they will never find anyone like her. She is honest and true and even though they don’t treat her well, she is “never as happy as when I’m with you”.
“These Daze” is a blast with more great fiddle playing and an excellent guitar solo. Her lover is controlling and despite previous misgivings, seems reconciled to their love. “And these days we’re a walkin’ down the street and you’re holdin’ me, not afraid of who might see me there by your side, and you’re messing with my mind these days.” Lillie Mae is in a daze about her lovers’ feelings.
In “Forever And Then Some”, Lillie Mae is begging to be taken back by her lover who has been away. “Time’s catchin’ up and I can’t run away. Will there be love? Or will I get to say that you’re on my mind forever and then some?”
“Nearing Home” is slower and is a prayer for direction. “Hear me what I’m saying, ’cause I can’t listen anymore. Choices I been makin’ ain’t on my side or right at all.
“To Go Wrong” is faster and is a plea for forgiveness. “Don’t turn your back on me now. I never meant you any harm”.
In “Some Fine Day” she has left her lover and fears she will slip back into old habits. “What started had been oh so long and ended in being so wrong.”
The title of “Dance To The Beat Of My Own Drum” makes it clear that this is a song in which she reconciles herself to her faults and her mistakes. “I dance to the beat of my own drum and I sing all the words to my own song and I hum to a choose of my choosing and I spin all around because it moves me.”
This is a fascinating record featuring great playing, good melodies and thoughtful lyrics. In 2019, she released an album called “Other Girls” which was a mixture of indie rock, country heartache, hillbilly rock and psych-folk. She is a remarkable talent.