Everett Lilly passes

Bluegrass has lost another pioneer.

Everett Lilly, who played with Flatt & Scruggs but is best known for joining his brother Bea, Tex Logan and Don Stover in the Lilly Brothers, died today, his son Everett announced in an email to friends and fans. He was 87.

“May he join his brother, Bea, and Don Stover today and may they once again perform alongside the other great pioneers who made this wonderful music what it is,” the younger Everett said. “He lived to do that.”

Everett started his mandolin-playing career in his beloved West Virginia, playing at an early incarnation of the Wheeling Jamboree. He played two stints with Lester and Earl, only to rejoin his brother to tour, first as the Confederate Mountaineers and then as the Lilly Brothers. They found special success in the Boston area, where they lived and played for some time, and in Japan, where they had a large following. A tour of Japan in 1973 resulted in three live albums, Holiday in Japan, parts one, two and three. The band also played at the Newport Folk Festival and at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.

The Lilly Brothers were inducted into IBMA’s hall of honor in 2002 and into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Bea Lilly died in 2005.

Everett Lilly continued performing until his death, joining sons Mark and Daniel as Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers.

Thanks to Fred Robbins for sharing this recording of The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover and Tex Logan at the Culpepper festival in 1973.

LillyBrothers 1973: [http://frobbi.org/audio/LillyBros-Stover-Logan-Culpeper1973.mp3]

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, songwriter and upright bass player. He has spent much of his career as a wire service political reporter, including nearly 14 years with The Associated Press and a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and has recently retired as senior editor for Kiplinger Washington Editors.