John Lilly is a multi-talented acoustic music performer from Charleston, W. Va., specializing in Americana, country roots, and traditional folk music. He writes new songs that sound as old as the hills, and performs older songs like they were made yesterday. According to one reviewer, “If Hank Williams had a sunny disposition, he’d be John Lilly.”
John, who is making his eighth appearance at Bear, has released six self-produced CDs. His latest, “Cold Comfort”, debuted at the #1 position on the Freeform American Root (FAR) radio chart and features guest artists Bill Kirchen, Sonny Landreth and Tim O’Brien. Recognized internationally as a powerful performing songwriter, he was the winner of the 2010 “Next Great Road Song” contest, sponsored by Midas and Spin. His song “Come and Go” placed first in the acoustic category out of more than 1,200 song entries. In 2005, he won the national Ghost Writers In the Sky songwriting contest, sponsored by HankFest, a Chicago-based festival honoring the music of Hank Williams. John won a customized guitar for his original song “Blue Highway.”
Born in Illinois in 1954, he has traveled and performed widely, including three tours of Scotland and visits to 48 states. A former member of the Green Grass Cloggers dance team, he spent years playing traditional string band music with groups including Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers. He is a former a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and is currently editor of West Virginia’s Goldenseal magazine.