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SoundCheck: Sister Lucille’s View From The Top Of The Charts Looks Good

Sister Lucille
Courtesy of Sister Lucille

It’s not out of line to say Sister Lucille is one of the hottest bands in Missouri right now. At the time of writing this, they hold the number three spot in the state on the Roots Music Report for their new album, Alive. The record was number 15 on the national Roots charts and debuted at number four on iTunes.

Sister Lucille is married couple vocalist Kimberly Dill and guitarist Jamie Holdren, as well as drummer Kevin Lyons and bassist Eric Guinn. Guinn is retiring from the band and will be replaced by Reed Herron.

Dill and Holdren came by our studios to talk about what it felt like to learn that Alive was doing so well on the charts.

“We’d been up all night, so we were sleeping in a little bit. It’s like 10 [am] and I hear my phone ding. I look over and it’s one of our friends from Memphis saying, ‘Congrats, sis! You debuted at number four.’ And I’m like, ‘Whaaaat!’” said Dill.

“And which, we look up to those cats. It’s a band called Ghost Town Blues Band,” said Holdren.

“So, it was awesome to get that message. And of course, I start screaming and he’s like, ‘Augh.’ I said, ‘We’re number four!’ and he’s like, ‘Would you be quiet? I’m trying to sleep.’ There was no going back to sleep for me,” said Dill.

“For me, it was really when I actually got on my laptop myself, brought it up, looked at it and seen my name next to Joe Bonamasa. And that’s whenever I was like, ‘Holy…,’ said Holdren.

“Oh yeah. He was number five that day. Peter Frampton was number three, so Sister Lucille was sandwiched between Peter Frampton and Joe Bonamasa,” said Dill.

The same rings true for Holdren when it comes to the Missouri charts.

“The state reports in all genres – country, blues… You know, the Hillbenders, they’re on that chart and we were actually –,” said Holdren.

“They were number six,” said Dill.

“Between three and seven for the last three or four weeks and to have my next to the Hillbenders, once again, let’s give some props to Springfield and some of the wonderful musicians here. That was super cool,” said Holdren.

Sister Lucille recorded Alive last year at Ardent Studios in Memphis.

“Ardent Studios is a legendary studio. Everyone from B.B. King to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Led Zeppelin has either recorded there or had their album mixed there. There’s literally a roster that’s unbelievably long. So, the whole time I was there, I was just in awe. I really honestly feel like it made my playing better,” said Holdren.

When it came time to mix the record, Holdren took a stab in the dark at trying to get a big name to help them out: Jim Scott in Los Angeles, who has worked with the likes of Tom Petty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Wilco.

“We got to go to L.A. to mix the album. And Jim Scott, who I just randomly reached in an email because I was having some trouble with the mix. And I was like, ‘What could it hurt? I mean, I’ll never hear back from this guy ever.’ Because he was currently mixing like, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Marcus King Band. And I send the message to Jim and he sends me a message back a couple days later. And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m actually from St. Louis. You guys got a kind of a rockin’ little band,’” said Holdren.

So with the help of those at Ardent Studios in Memphis and Jim Scott in L.A., Sister Lucille is putting Springfield blues on the map.

“For some hometown kids that never really got to release a professional album, you know, worldwide, so to speak, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Holdren.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Dill.

“It makes you feel like that maybe all these that I’ve stuck with it and have been doing it, that if this was all I even ever got out of it, then I think it was plenty worth it,” said Holdren.

Jessica Gray Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. When she's not wrangling operations and compliance issues, she co-hosts live music show Studio Live and produces arts and culture stories. Jessica plays bass in local band the Hook Knives. She and her husband Todd live with their two cats, Ellie and Jean-Ralphio, and way too many house plants.
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