Country singer Lillie Mae Country singer Lillie Mae - ImagesGram

Country singer Lillie Mae

The musician is on her first solo tour – but has been on stage since she was three, eventually playing with the likes of Jack White. She talks about the struggles of a childhood on the road and her battle with alcohol
Amy Fleming
Friday 6 October 2017 06.00 BST
When I arrive to meet Lillie Mae she is smoking a post sound-check cigarette outside tonight’s venue – a subterranean place in San Francisco called Cafe du Nord. Having started touring at the age of three, she has loitered around the back of many music venues, from the recreation halls of Texan caravan parks, to Tennessee honkytonks, and the Japanese festival stages and European arenas where she accompanied Jack White on fiddle, mandolin and vocals. But this tour is different, her first as a solo artist. “I’ve been super paranoid and worried sick every day that no one’s going to come, but people come and it’s awesome,” she says, flashing a huge smile.
Her first solo album – Forever and Then Some – was produced by White and released on his label, Third Man Records, this summer. The combination of her bluegrass blood, buttermilk voice and ability to write compelling pop songs about everyday emotional dramas has seen her heralded (alongside label mate Margo Price) as a part of country music’s ballsy new guard. “A star in the making” and “a bracing new talent”, according to the critics – a notion that seems faintly ridiculous to Lillie Mae herself. “New to a lot of people, absolutely, but man, I’ve been doing the same thing for a long damn time.”