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items tagged with Lissie

Lissie Unleashed: “My Wild West”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2016-02-17 20:54:39

The story of Lissie – the Rock Island native who went to California with dreams of stardom that you could hear on two albums, and who then returned to the Midwest and bought an Iowa farm – is captured in the second track on her new album My Wild West, and it’s the emotional and musical retreat you’d expect.

Following an instrumental overture, the largely piano-and-voice “Hollywood” hits obvious notes of regret and pain: “Oh, Hollywood / You broke my heart just because you could.”

The nuances here – the shoulda-known-better admission – do little to justify the song or its foregrounding on the album. Its prominence only begins to make sense when you take the long view of My Wild West.

Like “Hollywood,” the front half of the album feels oddly self-conscious – with over-thought stylistic shifts. But the back end goes a long way toward correcting that, as My Wild West reveals itself to be a lot like most Lissie songs: a patient lull before she unleashes that monster of a voice.

And in that context, the whole begins to make sense as a story with its tentative beginning in Hollywood disappointment. Slowly but surely, Lissie sheds shackles over the course of the album, growing more confident and less burdened. Precise articulations of muted moods give way to anticipated but unpredictable detonations. The record, ultimately, becomes the best and freest long-form expression of Elisabeth Maurus’ forceful performance talent and casual authenticity.

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Bursting Through: Lissie, October 16 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-10-07 11:21:34
Lissie. Photo by Valerie Phillips.

(Note: This show was canceled on October 14 and will be rescheduled.)

When Rock Island native Lissie Maurus performed in the Quad Cities in November, she had just released the EP Why You Runnin’, and it seemed to promise that more aching folk would follow.

Three of the EP’s five songs (“Little Lovin’,” “Everywhere I Go,” and “Oh Mississippi”) made the cut on the full-length Catching a Tiger, but only the first of those – with its escalating, building soul – foreshadowed her album’s stunning pop path.

There’s no doubt that Lissie is a strong singer, with a throaty voice full of color and conviction and frayed around the edges. But good folk music requires sterling wordplay, and I worried that Maurus might not yet have the songwriting chops to carry a record of lightly adorned songs, even with her considerable pipes.

So Catching a Tiger – released in August – is a major and welcome surprise. A handful of producers and co-writers developed tracks around Maurus’ voice, and she takes flight within the dynamic tunes. I heard Cat Power and Neko Case in the spare arrangement of her EP, but Catching a Tiger finds her in the smartly fleshed-out company of Tori Amos and Fiona Apple; the aural richness augments and supports fundamentally strong material.

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Well Seasoned: Lissie, November 11 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-11-03 22:34:10

Lissie. Photo by Andrew Calder.

It might be lemons and lemonade and all that, but Rock Island native Lissie Maurus said she's pleased that it's taken her this long to reach this point in her musical career.

Maurus (who performs under the name Lissie) spent half a decade in Los Angeles and, for the most part, made her living from music. But when she comes back to the Quad Cities for a show next week headlined by Sondre Lerche (see article here), she'll be supporting her first proper release.

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