When The Lil Smokies came together in Missoula, MT to start making bluegrass music over eight years ago, all they had was their name. They didn’t have a built-in following or a big budget for lots of fancy equipment. These humble beginnings helped define the raw grit that’s clearly apparent in their music. The band’s  latest single, “Sharpest Edges”, highlights their grassroots, bluegrass background.

“Sharpest Edges” makes its point by highlighting the rough and cutthroat nature of the life in which many people find themselves. It acknowledges that when a certain situation gets you down, you need to remember what is important: friends and community.

The Lil Smokies have bonded together as their own community over the years, as the five members have shared countless hours on the road and on the stage, helping defend each other from life’s sharpest of edges. Originally, the song communicated this message entirely through instrumentation. The band only decided to add lyrics after a memorable psychedelic excursion experienced by vocalist/dobro player, Andy Dunnigan.

“In my head, as it was being created, this song was wholly an instrumental,” Dunnigan tells Live For Live Music about the new track. “Upon hearing it, the fellas insisted I write a chorus and vocally emulate and embellish the dobro part for the verses. It came together pretty rapidly. Lyrically, the song is about a very strong and impactful experience I had on psychedelics. Ask me about it in person sometime, eh?”

Even beneath the lyrics, the instrumentation says as much as most words, coming in hot from the start with a blistering fiddle and Dunnigan’s accompanying dobro. The whole song keeps up a breakneck pace that doesn’t allow the listener to truly appreciate the lyrics until the second or third time around, but “the fellas” were right: it needed lyrics.

Listen to “Sharpest Edges” from The Lil Smokies below.

The Lil Smokies – “Sharpest Edges”

[Video: The Lil Smokies]

The band’s forthcoming album, Tornillo, named for the small Texas town in which it was recorded, sees them approach Laurel Canyon-style songwriting with the energy of a rock n’ roll outfit. The ensuing result is an album with a point to make—and the drive to make it with impact. Tornillo is due out January 24th.

The Lil Smokies will get back out on the road in support of the new album January 23rd, the day before it comes out, at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle, WA. Check out a full list of dates below and head to their website for tickets.

The Lil Smokies Tour Dates

Jan. 23 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre

Jan. 24 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret

Jan. 25 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater

Jan. 31 – Morro Bay, CA – The Siren

Feb. 1 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room

Feb. 6-7 – Durango, CO – Animas City Theatre

Feb. 9 – Crested Butte, CO – Public House

Feb. 15 – Salt Lake City, UT – State Room

Mar. 5 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle

Mar. 6 – Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory

Mar. 7 – D.C. – 9:30 Club

Mar. 11 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair

Mar. 12 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Lounge

Mar. 14 – Jay, VT – Jay Peak Resort

Mar. 27-29 Squaw Valley, CA – WinterWonderGrass

Apr. 8 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon

Apr. 9-10 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club

Apr. 16 – Nashville, TN – Basement East

View Tour Dates