PO Box 372
Princeton, MA, 01541
A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jeff Wenning
Lisa McCormick has delivered one of the most captivating albums I've heard in some time. It's easily comparable to Susan Werner's Last Of The Good Straight Girls and Cheryl Wheeler's Circles And Arrows, both for its style and lyrical content. But please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying she sounds like either of them, just that I was consistently left with the impression that this is a woman who, like Werner and Wheeler, thinks about things a lot. No subject matter is sacrosanct. Sex, boredom, cars, phone conversations, and of course, relationships all become targets for Lisa McCormick's introspective, bizarre, insightful, and quirky way of looking at things.
Take, for instance, the title song, Right Now. In it, she enumerates a series of events which are happening "right now". In that instant moment, according to McCormick, "thousands of women are giving birth," "someone finally reaches the front of the line," "summoned souls are lifting from their skins," and "someone commits an act that will haunt them the rest of their lives." Makes me wonder what other events might be happening "right now" that might effect any one of us a moment, hour, week, or year from now.
I laughed out loud at the seemingly undeniable truths in "Cars, Cars, Cars, Relationships". Here she muses on, among other things, the "cause of (her) eternal despair" and discovers that,
|There are two things out to get you |
And they won't quit till they do
Cars, cars, cars, relationships
Lisa McCormick does folk, rock, funk, reggae, tasty syncopation and always superb lyrics. This is social poetry with a kick, conceived by a woman who is a musical wordsmith. One could easily imagine her as a Alan Ginsburg type, doin' her thing in a 60's beat coffee house (especially in Mike's Monologue), but there's nothing but '90's in subject matter. She imitates no one.
While you're being captivated with the lyrics, you'll also find she knows how to write songs with great melodies. Her tunes come with "hooks" that don't slap you in the face, but rather, manage to penetrate the subconscious and resurface when you least expect it. This is a "must listen to on headphones" album. Listen while you read the lyrics, but also pay attention to the accompaniment, the beauty of which may be lost over speakers. It's also an extremely "clean" recording, without a speck of noise or hiss. Tasteful production from Johnathan Edwards is the icing on this cake that's been blended with the fine ingredients. Kenny White's Hammond B3 organ work is lovely (and I generally loath organ). Duke Levine's electric guitar accompaniment floats and sails throughout the album. Bass work by Graham Maby and Hugh McDonald are excellent, and drummer Gary Burke expresses more, at times, with a single snare drum, than many do with a full kit.
This is a super debut effort by a talented songwriter. I anxiously await her next effort.
Edited by Allen Price