Marketed and Distributed by Thirty Tigers/RED
℗ 2015 Black Lilly Music / Attack Monkey Productions (BMI)
Gearing up to write this record, one reoccurring theme kept smacking me in the face. It came from every direction and in many ways, but always the same: write from your heart. Create from a personal space. Heart. Heart. Heart. It was the only way to do it.
So when I got home from tour and it was time to get to work, it was fitting that I found my focus in the simplest and most direct of ways. I was going to be home for two weeks (an eternity for me), but completely absorbed in the writing process – unable to spend time with my son Cash. I told him, “While I’m home, I won't see you as much as I’d like to. I’ve got to buckle down and write this record, and you know…there’s a real chance I could fail.” He turned to me, took a pause and breath, and with a pointed finger said, “Daddy! Go write a record, and then let’s go buy a farm!”
It’s all I needed to hear, just knowing that someone completely believed in me. If I ever started to lose my focus, his words would return. And he was with me the day I wrote the song Hard to Please. After giving me some brutal advice that only a ten-year-old could … he informed me that he himself was not so hard to please!
I’m not sure that’s true, nor should it be. If there is something that embodies the spirit of the Black Lillies team, it’s never settling for less than your best. Every stage, every song, and every mile. Expect it of yourself and all those around you, and never, ever apologize for being Hard to Please.
Hard To Please is the most driven, focused, and refined project I’ve ever been part of. Beginning with the songs and the energy and life that inspired them; the arrangement process in a basement in our hometown of Knoxville … to two snowy weeks on lockdown with Bowman and Trisha and saving grace Sam Quinn, (who joined us for pre-production rehearsals), digging into the nature of each song … to our manager Chyna’s tireless efforts and relentless encouragement, and our amazing fans’ continued belief and support. Everybody stepped up and delivered, personally and collectively.
The recording process was nothing less than mind blowing, or “righteous!” as was exclaimed in the studio often. It’s safe to say that the “A team” brought their “A game” to this project. Producer Ryan Hewitt pushed us all to be and express our best creative selves, and captured The Black Lillies in our most fully realized recording to date. Sincere gratitude to assistant engineer Chad Cuttilll for his superhuman endurance and good vibes, and huge props and appreciation to Bill Reynolds, Matt Smith, and Daniel Donato for tracking these songs out live and playing your arses off!
As always in making a record there is really no real beginning or ending to all the thank you’s and credits due. So many people contributed their time, efforts, and talents to this project. So I’ll keep it short and sweet. First and foremost, I must thank our incredible fans. And secondly, thank you to the core team that truly made this project possible. Job well done to Chyna Brackeen, Ryan Hewitt, Chad Cuttill, Trisha Gene Brady, Bowman Townsend, and Sam Quinn. This would not be what it is without each one of you!
Peace and gratitude.
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Hewitt
Assisted by Chad Cuttill and Owen Lewis
Additional Engineering and cocktails by Chad Cuttill
Recorded and Mixed at House of Blues Studios, Nashville, TN
Studio Intern: Tyler Spratt
Executive Producer: Chyna Brackeen
Mastered by Dave Collins
Dave Collins Mastering, Los Angeles, TN
Illustration by Scott Guion
Additional tattoo images by Chelsea Linnaberry
Album layout and design by Courtney Hendricks, Best Behavior Creative Club
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras
“Hard to Please” music by Cruz Contreras and Bowman Townsend; lyrics by Cruz Contreras
Sending love and thanks to each and every one of our incredible friends, family members and fans, with special recognition for Bill “The Appalachian Hippie Poet” Alexander; Eric Bowen; Becky and Steve Hancock; Stuart Martin; Candace and Lynn Fowler; Ken at Sportsmen’s Tavern; Tony Novello; Mae Stroda, Bruce and Sharon Court of the Canadian Court House; Dennis and Tammy Double; Markus, Dora, Sarah, & Kate Garza; Ron and Karin Rouse; Chris Canfield, Marcia Asquith and Mike Hammer; Krista & Winston Thompson; Jen and Randy Reeves; Rob, Ashleigh, and Rowan Bergstrom; Laura A Longoria; Frank U. Soto; Elizabeth Hussey; Orla Kinsella; Rusty Gordon; Iggy and Jasmine Hutchison; Jen and Steffen Heins; Lee and JoJo Brown; our Atlanta family the Martinezes; Brett Dougherty and family; Nancy Ward; Art & Mary Shearon; the Monroe family; Kathleen DiRosato; Mike and Susan Clark; the fabulous Reenie “Pop-A-Wheelie” Mooney; Mauro Mengaziol; Richard Fauteux; Bill Kappa; Zoe Marie Moreira; Christopher Cook; Len Pavelka; Adam Goodwin; Cynthia Chace; Cameron and Hannah Cosgrove; Pam and Steve Hall; Cherie Piercy; Kyle Wright; Joni Harrison; Steven Horton; Bob and Lori Liberatore; Trina Nicholson; Reid Simpson; Kimberly Brown; and Karen Dillon.