Hoopla

The Democracy of Lula Wiles

Coming to CSPS Wednesday

LAURA PARTAI PHOTO

Lula Wiles features (from left) Eleanor Buckland, vocals, fiddle and acoustic guitar; Isa Burke, vocals, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitars; and Mali Obomsawin, vocals and bass. The folk trio, with roots in Maine and Boston, will perform Wednesday (2/27) at CSPS in Cedar Rapids.
LAURA PARTAI PHOTO Lula Wiles features (from left) Eleanor Buckland, vocals, fiddle and acoustic guitar; Isa Burke, vocals, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitars; and Mali Obomsawin, vocals and bass. The folk trio, with roots in Maine and Boston, will perform Wednesday (2/27) at CSPS in Cedar Rapids.

Some things never change in the music industry. Recording artists know they made it, to at least some degree, when the act is covered in the pages of Rolling Stone.

Last week Lula Wiles, who will perform Wednesday (2/27) at CSPS in Cedar Rapids, was featured in the venerable music magazine’s “10 new country Americana artists you need to know.”

“My dad was flipping out,” Eleanor Buckland said by phone from Montreal. “‘You’re in bleeping Rolling Stone,’ he said to me. It was awesome. My dad was so stoked about us being in Rolling Stone. You can’t blame him.”

Each band member has a parent who was a touring musician.

“So they get it,” Buckland said. “They understand not only how important our group is to us, but also what it takes to be successful and how amazing it is to get noticed.”

Buckland grew up in rural Maine, as did her bandmates, Isa Burke and Mali Obomsawin. The trio met at fiddle camp while they were preteens in Maine.

“We were in the same fiddle group,” Buckland said. “We knew each other when we were really young but didn’t become good friends until we were about 14, and when we were about 15, we were jamming around the campfire.

Named after the Carter Family classic “Lulu Walls,” Lula Wiles formed in 2014 when each member attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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“We have this chemistry,” Buckland said. “We decided to put this band together to see what would happen.”

Lula Wiles released a self-titled debut album in 2016, which is filled with clever songwriting.

The band took a big step forward with its latest album, “What Will We Do,” which dropped in January. The songs, filled with rich, gorgeous harmonies, are sharper and amusing, while driving a point home.

The satirical “Good Old American Values” is very funny but sad at the same time. “That song was inspired by the genius of Randy Newman,” Buckland said. “We hoped that everyone was ready for some dark humor.”

Much of the songwriting smacks of the folk crafted during the ’60s and ’70s.

“We love listening to songs from that era,” Buckland said. “All of our parents either play music or are fans of music of some amazing recording artists. We each soaked up so much music when we were kids, and pieces of that have ended up on our albums.”

The singer-songwriters took some sonic chances throughout “What Will We Do.”

“We thought, ‘Why not take some risks,’” Buckland said. “So we tried plugging a violin into a guitar amp. We opted to try out some weird percussion. If we don’t experiment now, when will we experiment?”

Dictatorial power is common in bands, but Lula Wiles is a democracy.

“A lot of the songs are literally 33 percent me, 33 percent Isa and 33 percent Mali,” Buckland said. “There are some songs written just by one person, but the ones I really enjoy are the songs that are shared. It’s fun when we add parts and give feedback. This is every inch a band. We respect and have so much fun with each other and I think that comes out in the music.”

The group also is democratic when it comes to deciding who sings a particular song.

“We all sing, which is a great thing,” Buckland said. “We do our best with sharing. It’s a good approach in music and it’s a good approach in life.”

Get Out!

WHAT: Lula Wiles

WHERE: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday

TICKETS: $16 advance, $19 door; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org

GROUP’S WEBSITE: Lulawiles.com

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