Well, if I didn’t enjoy Lissie half as much as I do, it would have been more difficult to pull myself away from Rock Band tonight to write this post. However, despite my incredible growing drummer genius, I will take some time to write (and to listen). Before I begin, though, just because we’ve got some little seedling ideas, Eric and I would like to know how many musicians reading would be interested in getting involved with an American version of the In A Cabin With project. We’ve talked about it before, and we aren’t making any guarantees that we can make it happen, but we’d really like to at least see how much interest is out there. And who knows? If there’s enough, maybe we can make it happen, or at least help it along. So let us know, via Facebook or Twitter or email.
Back to the star of tonight’s post: Lissie, and her recent E.P. (11/10/09), Why You Runnin’, 5 songs well worth your $3.99. Here’s the deal. I live in Virginia, and there were people in my high school who rode camo-painted trucks to school with the confederate flag hanging from the truck bed. People are, you know, SOUTHERN. Not my favorite thing in the world. You know what else isn’t my favorite thing in the world? Country music. Get that freaking Kenny Chesney crap away from me. But the thing is, there are some singer/songwriters that I feel belong in the country category and are not the stereotypical crap they play on the country music station where Carrie Underwood claims to like shots of whiskey (oh well in that case you must be country, Carrie)…rather, they’re the salt-of-the-earth, agricultural, honest musicians whose chords and twang come straight from the heart. Joe Purdy, Great Lake Swimmers, Samantha Crain…and Lissie. I would just call them folk, but I don’t know. Sometimes country seems to fit, in a good way.
Why You Runnin’ has a country/folk feel that doesn’t piss me off, somewhere between Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning (even the cover sort of looks like his), Janis Joplin, EmmyLou Harris, and Iron & Wine. The maturity of Lissie’s voice really blows me away–it sets itself apart rather than falling into line with the various “types” of female voices (the Paramore “alternative” voice, the Ingrid Michaelson “folk” voice, or just tweeeeeeeeeeeeee!!). She is, to reference God Help the Girl (what is life without good Belle & Sebastian/Stuart Murdoch references?), a bonafide “down and dusky blonde,” who makes beautiful soulful music that she means. While “Little Lovin” is catchy and quick, the other 4 songs on this EP are quite slow, and absolutely convincing. “Oh Mississippi” is hands down my favorite song, and I love Lissie’s voice backed by that hymn-like piano. Her arrangements use captivating, mournful echoes…it sounds almost like she recorded in a cathedral, and the lyrics speak of life experiences in a way the listener can feel is sincere. You feel like, she has roots and people to look up to and she has experienced things that have made her more whole, more alive. She comes from someplace where people love her and where she loves, where she’s been given room to grow as a person and into a person. Her sincerity is clear and inviting.
So, I invite YOU to listen to her myspace and then cough up a few bucks to buy the EP. Also, feel free to share any thoughts about country and folk and what they even are.