John Lilly is a multi-talented acoustic music performer from Charleston, West Virginia, 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 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. “Haunted Honky Tonk” achieved the #1 position on both the Freeform American Roots (FAR) and the Euro Americana radio charts in 2007. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine called John’s 2002 “Broken Moon” release one of the “most unusual and interesting acoustic disks of the year.” His 2005 CD “Blue Highway” is a collaboration with legendary Tennessee fiddler Ralph Blizard. "John Lilly Live on Red Barn Radio," released in 2010, features Lilly in an intimate solo setting.
John is 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.” He was a finalist in the 2002 Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, chosen from 853 entries and placing third in the Country category for his song "Broken Moon." John Lilly’s 2008 and 2010 Mountain Stage radio performances are available at NPR Music.
John was born in Illinois in 1954 and 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, John 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.