Live Report: The Lil Smokies at Lodge Room

Artists: The Lil Smokies, Michigan Rattlers

Venue: Lodge Room

Date: March 15, 2022

With classic Masonic trimmings and really great acoustics, Lodge Room in Highland Park is quickly becoming one of my favorite live music venues in the Los Angeles area. This time I had the privilege of getting to see one of the bands I picked for a top album in 2020, The Lil Smokies.

The evening started out with their stellar opening band, Michigan Rattlers. This band gave me many feelings toward the state I grew up in, and their music really embodies that Michigan sound. It took me back to my childhood – from the records my dad would play to the square dances I went to with my grandma in Flint. Their opening song, “The Storm,” hooked me immediately. You can tell by listening to them that their sound is inspired by such bands/musicians as Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and more. A little bit rock, and a little bit country – that sound really is Michigan & I thoroughly enjoyed the Michigan Rattlers.

The Lil Smokies were every bit as good as I was expecting them to be. If you are a fan of Trampled By Turtles, or bluegrass/roots music in general, then you’ll be a fan of The Lil Smokies – I think they are every bit as talented with just as catchy and well written tunes. They lined the stage straight across, each of them featuring a different instrument: fiddle, upright bass, dobro, guitar & banjo. Those five instruments, combined with three-part vocal harmonies, filled the hall at Lodge Room with incredible sound and energy. The played a couple of my favorite tunes from their newest album, Tornillo – “Carry Me” and “World’s On Fire” – which I was very happy for, as those songs have been living rent free in my head since the album’s release in 2020. Between so many other great tunes, they also took moments for jam sessions that allowed them to show off their music prowess.

The night gave me just what my heart & soul needed from a live music experience – great music, people laughing, dancing & having a good time, and some great cocktails provided by the venue.

Check out The Lil Smokies on Spotify below:

… and don’t forget to check out Michigan Rattlers while you’re there:

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