Liz Longley Liz Longley on LP
Liz Longley has a gift for culling musical treasures as though straight from thin air. And now, the Berklee College of Music graduate and award-winning songwriter is set to share them with listeners on her self-titled album - her first after signing with Sugar Hill Records. The collection of 11 songs was recorded in Nashville with an all-pro band - and in a pulse-quickening fashion so rare in today's world of overproduced, airbrushed records. "I love being in the studio and feeding off the energy of other musicians. It's not something I get to do often on the road because I've mostly toured solo."
While Longley's songs and vocals invite complimentary comparisons to Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole and Nanci Griffith - all artists she's supported live - her latest effort spotlights a style and confidence that's all her own. You can hear it in the subtle-yet-soaring vocals on "Memphis," the dagger directness of "Skin and Bones," the bittersweet farewell that drives "This Is Not the End." They're all cuts that dare you to hold back the goosebumps.
In fact, Longley's singing never fails to thrill and enthrall. Her voice and tone, touched with the slightest of country inflections, pours out like clean, crystalline water. Still, she can roar like a waterfall or flow effortlessly along the bed her backing band lays down, as on "Peace of Mind." The track showcases Longley yearning after silence and stillness to beat back demons of self-doubt.
The new songs grew amidst a period of transition and travel in her life; moving between Boston and New York before finally settling in Nashville, and spending much of her life on the road in a succession of minivans. To that end, the songs have been road tested at Longley's live shows, their power to connect with fans beyond question. These numbers pack the punch of pages torn from Longley's journal.
Longley confides with you as though you're sitting on the sofa with her in a talk that's intimate and vulnerable. "Bad Habit" strides the valley road of heartbreak, its pounding toms and plaintive electric guitar providing an ideal frame for Longley's vocal, the very portrait of love's rock bottom: "I couldn't stand the smell of smoke 'til he lit that cigarette/ Never felt the temptation 'til I smelled it on his breath."
Why write and sing songs so transparent and confessional? For Longley, it boils down to the simple truth of authenticity. "I just try to be myself," she says. "If I feel like a song is not genuine to me, I absolutely do not present it because people see right through it. It's all about the honesty, and I try not to overthink it-then it would lose some of the magic."
She says she'll continue to open her soul in the service of her art because that's what matters most to her. "Every time I get into these songs they resonate with me, lock with me, because they're based on something I went through," she says of the new collection. "I hope they connect with people and that they'll help with whatever they've gone through. That's what music does for me, and I hope I can do that for someone else."
Liz Longley Liz Longley Track Listing:
1. Outta My Head
2. Skin & Bones
4. Bad Habit
5. You've Got That Way
6. Peace Of Mind
7. Simple Love
8. This Is Not The End
9. Never Loved Another
11. We Run