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Why You Runnin' - EP

Lissie

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

The five songs on this impressive debut EP cover a good swath of modern folk. “Little Lovin’” is a lively foot-stomper; the gospel piano ballad “Oh Mississippi” conjures goose bumps; and Lissie wraps Hank Williams’ “Wedding Bells” in warm reverb and changes the lyrics to reflect a female perspective and the results are outstanding. The four original songs are all well written, particularly the highly emotional “Everywhere I Go” and “Here Before,” but what truly stands out is her remarkable voice. Aching and evocative, vulnerable yet self-assured, Lissie Maurus’ pipes can be powerful like Neko Case’s one moment and eerie and affecting like Chan Marshall’s (Cat Power) the next. Joined by Bill Reynolds, who also produced, and Tyler Ramsey of Band of Horses, the overall sound is spacious, ethereal, and gorgeous. Why You Runnin’ signals big things to come from Lissie Maurus.

Customer Reviews

Arresting, intense folk-rock Americana

Lissie Maurus is a folk-rock singer from the southwest Illinois border town of Rock Island. Although there’s a rustic Midwestern edge to her Americana, her transplantation to Los Angeles, and national and international gigs have elevated her music beyond coffee-house strumming. Her voice pulls you in close with confessional introductions and then attacks with arresting outbursts of emotion. The exclamation of “danger will follow me now everywhere I go, angels will fall on me and take me to my home” finds her bending back from the microphone to make room for a lungful of emotion. The empty spaces in the studio add presence and dimension as she steps back to keep the needles from pinning red with her fervor. There’s a bluesy edge in her vocals, not unlike Joan Osborne, but with the earthier, more distracted air of Edie Brickell. The productions often arc from contemplative openings to emotional conclusions. “Little Lovin’” rolls through its first half with only a bass drum (and your toe-tapping) to keep the beat, but a deep bottom end rolls in, Lissie’s vocals rise and hand-clapping rhythms spur the vocals to soar into full-throated scatting. The abandon with which she vocalizes has the improvisational verve of a live jam, blowing past the artifice of studio recording. Her cover of Hank Williams’ “Wedding Bells” turns its despondency from hangdog to forlorn, and the original male-perspective lyrics (“you wanted me to see you change your name”) gain additional layers when sung in a woman’s voice. An ode to Lissie’s native river, “Oh Mississippi,” is sung with a gospel piano and overdubbed choir, and though it may remind you of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” it turns into a fervent elegy for the failing industrial heart of America. Here too Lissie hits a second gear to bring the song to a tremendous emotional climax. Bill Reynolds’ production is spare but filled with touches – a tambourine or a tom-tom riff – that provide instrumental accents that complement the vocal dynamics. He leaves Lissie up-front, where listeners can hang on to both her emphatic notes and dramatic pauses. A full LP recorded in Nashville with a pickup band and producer Jacquire King is apparently sitting in the can, but it’s hard to imagine it captured Lissie in such disarmingly naked moments as this brilliant five-song EP. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Refreshing New Singer/Songwriter

I saw Lissie open for Ray LaMontagne last night in Chicago and was blown away. Her voice is stunning, and her songwriting is truly refreshing and honest. I can't wait to see what else comes from her! This EP is definitely worth your time.

Want something refreshing?

Saw Lissie with Dallas Green and I was pleasantly surprised since I wasn't sure who the opening act was. Out came "Lissie" and I was blown away, their live set was just superb. Buy this EP, this is a buy you cannot pass up!

Biography

Born: 1982 in Rock Island, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Lissie Maurus was raised in the riverside town of Rock Island, Illinois, and she drew upon those blue-collar Midwestern origins to create her own form of indie folk music. The granddaughter of an international barbershop quartet champion, she grew up singing in theater productions, eventually picking up the guitar and playing her own songs at local coffee shops as a teenager. Lissie was also something of a rebel; she got thrown out of high school during her senior year, spent a brief period at Colorado...
Full Bio
Why You Runnin' - EP, Lissie
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