ILYAIMY w/ Stray Local at Bourgie Nights 2/15/15
Doors 7pm. Show 8pm. $5 ADV $8 DOS.
Heather Aubrey Lloyd of the band ilyAIMY is bent over a U.S. map bigger than her kitchen table, chairs positioned to hold up the corners. She's adhering little pictures to it, cramming memories inside the borders of the 41 states they've visited during a decade road tripping and performing.
"Well, I won't include a shot from the clothing-optional folk fest, but maybe the sign about encountering nudity? I'll use little tents for all the camping sites. Remember when I wrote that song about the girl who gave me her tooth in Oregon after our set? I'll have to find out if any of our fans have shots of me performing with Dar Williams Do we have any good pictures of our South Carolina gigs where they jumped stunt bikes over the stage?" she asks band mate, Rob Hinkal.
Bait shops, biker weeks and clothing-optional music festivals; Incredible stories gathered via hundreds of shows and 24,000 miles a year. The adventure continues for this acoustic duo from Baltimore, Md. Lloyd will have a few things to add to the memory map in 2012: ilyAIMY was just voted a Most-Wanted Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in New York.
When it all began in the 90s, Hinkal's ambitions were less grand: He only wanted to impress a girl.
She was a classmate at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and she was into folk music. Hinkal accompanied her on bass while she sang Suzanne Vega's "Queen and the Soldier," and ilyAIMY (i love you And I Miss You) began.
So, what about that name? It was inspired by stickers plastering Baltimore City at the time, featuring nostalgic family photos captioned: "I love you And I Miss You." These inspired the band's name and original songs.
An hour down I-95, Lloyd was a talented journalism student at the University of Maryland, College Park. A chance meeting with the charismatic Hinkal at a local open mic in 2001 would bring her back to her first loves: singing and songwriting.
"Having the solo for 'We Shall Overcome' in fourth grade is one of my earliest memories," Lloyd said. "Toward the end of college, I hit a crossroads. I went down to play a local open mic, and Rob's performance that night obviously changed my life."
Hinkal was at a crossroads, too. He needed a new female voice for ilyAIMY, one willing to tour. By September 2003, they'd let their leases run out, had a giant yard sale and started doing just that.
Together, Hinkal and Lloyd crafted a sound bridging folk, acoustic and alternative. Lloyd's incredible voice, love of harmony and strong narrative songwriting joined Hinkal's percussive acoustic guitar and loose-limbed song structures. Lloyd later added hand percussion to her repertoire. Reviewers called them "a welcome jolt in folk" and "an acoustically roiling, combustible attack on the usual singer/songwriter fare," a modern Buckingham/Nicks with a little Ani DiFranco, Rusted Root and edgier acts mixed in. They could sound as full as a rock band with just two people, all while composing award-winning folk songs. And the duo's goofy, personable, audience engaging stage presence made them a favorite at colleges, coffeehouses and even bars.
"They elevate the bar gig completely," said Jason Bursey, owner of Parallel Wine Bistro in Broadlands, VA, where the duo has a twice-monthly show.
In recent years, all that touring, musicianship and songcraft has garnered recognition from Kerrville New Folk, Mountain Stage, Lilith Fair and Eddie's Attic Acoustic Shootout (which launched careers like John Mayer's and Sugarland's). In 2008, Lloyd was tapped to back folk royalty Dar Williams' Promised Land Tour as a vocalist/percussionist.
Nowadays, the band also counts icons like Pat Wictor of folk supergroup Brother Sun among fans.
"ilyAIMY ain't your grandpa's folk music - and thank goodness. They are fearless writers and performers. Voices this rich and emotionally hard-hitting - equal parts velvet darkness, barely contained heartbreak, and hard-won, unstoppable joy - don't come around often. Sing me the phone book, Heather Lloyd - I'll ask for an encore."
2012 promises a seventh musical release, a main-stage performance at Falcon Ridge, and follow ups on their showcases at the National Association for Campus Activities and Northeast Regional Folk Alliance new memories to add to the map.
"Being partial to their amazing and unstoppable rhythm as well as their sheer originality, I see ilyAIMY being a force in our community for a very long time!" said Cheryl Prashker, NERFA President.
ilyAIMY also includes, when venue size and travel allows, Kristen Jones (cello), Sharif Kellogg (bass, piano) and Rowan Corbett (bones, djembe, vocals), who is also a member of the neo-Celtic band, Tinsmith.
Bourgie Nights (View)
127 Princess St
Wilmington , NC 28401