The Yuma Sun
July 16, 2004
GrooveLily’s cosmic fun
By Darin Fenger
A hot and funky little band straight from Greenwich Village is jonesing for a second dose of Yuma.
GrooveLily first came out to the sticks at the invite of Arizona Western College six years ago. Suffice it to say band members had a mind-blowing blast exploring this agricultural town. That’s why they’ve decided to tinker with their current tour and swing through Yuma next week.
“We have some pretty warm affection for the town of Yuma,” said keyboard player Brendan Milburn in a phone interview from the road. “We had such a great time playing at local schools for migrant workers’ kids back in 1999. It was an eye-popping and really heart-warming experience. We had nothing but great things to say about our time in Yuma.”
GrooveLily, which is described as everything from adult-pop to indie folk, is currently on a 28-show summer tour making a swing through the nation coast to coast. They’ll make their quick stop in Yuma on Thursday, when the band will play from 7 to 9 p.m. at Lutes’ Casino on Main Street. As an added bonus, admission to the concert will be free.
The band, which got together in 1996, features Valerie Vigoda on electric violin, Milburn on keyboards and Gene Lewin on drums. GrooveLily has opened for big names such as Cyndi Lauper, played an “alarming number of college gigs,” and has played the main stage at some of the country’s biggest folk music festivals.
GrooveLily’s single “Little Light” was picked by Microsoft for a compilation CD as part of the charitable “Equal Access” program. The band’s songs have also been featured in the film “Say You Do” and on the Oxygen Network, as well as on major soap operas like “The Young & The Restless,” “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”
And the critics rarely seem to do anything but adore these guys. All Music Guide said “In a perfect world, GrooveLily would have landed a deal with a major label in the ’90s and become superstars.” A fan quoted by the New York Times said: “If there is a cosmic justice, they’ll be ridiculously successful.”
Milburn said the band’s sound promises to catch anyone with preconceived notions by welcome surprise.
“Sometimes we call it a cross between Sarah McLachlan and The Barenaked Ladies and Cole Porter.”
Also, unlike most pop bands, lyrics with GrooveLily aren’t just an afterthought.
“We like to call it smart pop,” Milburn said. “Our lyrics are worth a second, third or 12th time. We like to put something in there where the more you listen the more you get out of it.”
Giving fans something to relate to within the lyrics is something of importance to GrooveLily.
“We always hope that people come away form a little bit of a feeling that we have sung songs to them that’s reflected something going on in their own lives,” Milburn said. “If I may be so New Age, we kind of see our mission to write pithy, well-crafted songs about people going through hard times so they know others are going through those same things too. Maybe they’ll laugh a bit or smile a bit.”