I’ve been living my life on the edge
Slip and fall if I take one more step
There’s safety in numbers I guess
But I’m going rogue in the wild, wild west
The singer-songwriter genre is one I return to over and over again. Even the bands I love, especially The Gaslight Anthem and Highly Suspect, adhere to that genre more than straight rock & roll. I like hooks as much as the next listener but if you can couple the hook with a killer lyric I’m sold. Lissie (nee Elisabeth Maurus) is an artist I’ve been a fan of since her first album, 2010’s Catching a Tiger. As good as her songs and songwriting are it’s her voice that really makes her stand out. She’s got a powerhouse voice that at times resembles Stevie Nicks and is able to go from whisper to a scream that will knock you back. She went big on her last release, 2013’s Back to Forever, a more polished arena rock album than her debut. It’s a very good album but at times the production threatened to overwhelm the songs. For My Wild West Lissie returns more to her roots and delivers her most intimate release to date.
Kicking off with an overture – yes, an actual overture – My Wild West immediately announces itself as an album rather than a collection of singles. After the overture the 11 songs that make up the album explore the different ideas and emotions Lissie has through the act of leaving Los Angeles and relocating to a 10 acre farm she purchased in Iowa. Even a sentiment as clichéd as a goodbye letter to Los Angeles (“Hollywood”) works because of the emotion Lissie puts in to the song. The next track, “Wild West”, is an early favorite for song of the year for me. For anyone that has ever made a life altering decision you spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons. However, no amount of planning can guarantee you are making the right choice. At one point you simply have to throw the dice. The moment that you actually decide direction, that is the point in time captured in “Wild West”. The lyrics convey the realization, fear, and excitement that you have when you decide to take that leap without a net.
Other stand out tracks are “Hero”, “Don’t You Give Up on Me”,”Sun Keeps Rising”, and “Stay”.
If you are a fan of artists like Serena Ryder, Elle King, Gin Wigmore, Regina Spektor, etc., you really should check out Lissie. All 3 of her studio releases are great, and she has released truly stunning and unconventional covers including “Bad Romance”, “Nothing Else Matters”, “Electric Eye”, “Go Your Own Way”, and the one linked below, “Mother”. Yes, the Glen Danzig song. Prepare to be blown away. Go to You Tube, type in “Lissie” and go down the rabbit hole. These covers are all available on the EP’s Covered up with Flowers and Cryin’ to You.
My Wild West is available on Spotify. Listen to it and if you like it, for God’s sake, buy it! Music ain’t free to make and every notched sale helps to support your favorite artists and tells them this music matters. You can get it direct from Lissie’s store at: http://www.lissie.com/splash-na/. While there buy Catching a Tiger and Back to Forever. You won’t regret it.