Milwaukee Record is proud to present Public Domain. The monthly video series features Milwaukee musicians setting up at Colectivo Coffee to adapt some of the world’s best-known songs in ways they’ve never been heard before. Watch the entire series here.
In this month’s installment, accomplished Americana outfit Dead Horses came to the gorgeous upper level of Colectivo’s Bay View Cafe & Bakery to perform an after hours rendition of Irish traditional-turned-American folk standard, “Lily Of The West.” Though the songs European roots extend centuries, “Lily Of The West” was published in America in 1860. The tragic classic’s titular lily is typically referred to by the name Flora in stateside versions, but some iterations also call the woman entangled in murder, trial, and testimony Mary or Molly.
Since jumping the Atlantic Ocean and landing in U.S. songbooks, “Lily Of The West” has been covered or adapted by the likes of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Chieftains, Mark Knopfler, and even Peter, Paul, And Mary. With lush harmonies, moving vocals, and the instrumental boost provided by a bouzouki, Dead Horses pull off a brilliant take on an internationally-known mainstay that’s simultaneously heart-wrenching and beautiful. Before Dead Horses play originals at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage on July 1 as part of Summerfest, watch their Public Domain cover now.
The video was shot, recorded, and edited by Cheston Van Huss of Effigy Media. Travis Whitty produced the opening sequence. Public Domain is sponsored by Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Wilson Center Guitar Festival, and Transfer Pizzeria Café.