Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lissie - Why You Runnin'

Lissie Maurus should be a household name in Illinois off the strength of her enduring ep 'Why You Runnin'. Lissie sings about her vantage point of the Mississippi River near her hometown Rockford, IL. It's refreshing to hear someone sing about the Mississippi in the Northern part of Illinois. You can hear shades of Stevie Nicks, Dusty Springfield, and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) in Lissie's vocals. Her soulful vocals tell the stories of someone much older.

On "Little Lovin' " the vocals have a brassy tone. The end of this song has a nice loose feel and Lissie sings like she is leading a sing-along in a revival tent. The Stevie Nicks comparison is apt for her delivery here.

"Wedding Bells" is a tale told from the ex- girlfriend point of view. 'The wedding bells will never ring for me' she laments after saying she got her ex's wedding invitation. The echo on her wistful vocals is commanding and reminds me of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star).

'Oh mighty river, oh Mississippi, oh all the trouble your banks have seen. Carry these stories from north to south but round these parts your westward bound'. This is a slight twist on the classic lament of the Mississippi from folks in the South. "Oh Mississippi" captures the vitality of the great moving body of water as well as the relationship that people have with this living streaming river.

"Everywhere I Go" is in the great blues tradition of wearing your heart on your sleeve. When Lissie hits the powerful notes on this song you feel what she is saying.

Lissie is able to connect with and commit to the feelings that these songs were breathed to life from. There is a country influence here, but I wouldn't necessarily call this country music. One thing for sure, it will be hard for you to stop listening. Lissie is confident in her delivery and her voice is mesmerizing.

This Fat Possum Records release was produced by Lissie's friend Bill Reynolds, the bassist in Band Of Horses. He does a good job of capturing the unique texture of Lissie's voice which is smoky, brassy, delicate and powerful.

You can check out Lissie at Fat Possum, along with quite a few great releases that I personally own (R.L Burnside). I am working on interviewing Lissie when she comes to Chicago on Jan.15 at Metro.


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