Well, if there's such a thing as 'arena country anthemic rock', and I suspect there is, though it's not much populated, Lisa Matassa can count herself a lead member of the pack. Somebody's Baby is actually an extended EP, but the choice was wisely made to market it as akin to a full release, and the label surely lavished a good deal of top drawer attention in every aspect, from the way the hell cool cover shot to the over-the-top engineering and production. Normally that latter element's a bad thing, that 'over the top' stuff, but Baby rocks the block, fills up the neighborhood, and starts heading for the outlands, to make converts to the cause, so who am I to knock the modality?
Matassa matches up to the rest of the affair with a big, brassy, clear, confident voice that takes no prisoners, no guff, and, sure as tomorrow's sun will rise, isn't gonna step in with anyone's backing chorus. That fiery presence ain't no shrinking violet, and no apologies needed nor ground ceded. This is obvious from the opening chords of the opening title cut and then all the way into the ballads. Even the downtone numbers like Learning as You Grow sparkle and have a backbone and strength of will that imbue the mournful side of life with hope and determination. And that band of hers? Whoo-ee, can them boys play! Like Matassa, they back away from no man, underwrite the vocals in lush foundations, and then step out for short tasty leads, punctuating the lyrics with ornamentalia dramatizing the core.
In fact, Lisa makes Bryan Adams' Heaven completely her own, and I suspect Adams is gonna hear it and think "Shoot! I didn't know it was really a woman's song, but danged if'n it ain't!" Then, if you will, listen to the purity of tone in her live take on Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You. Very nice indeed. And if you're thinking "Man, I gotta have me some of that!", then I susggest ya don't dilly-dally 'cause this EP has a version of Mel Torme's classic The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire), and it's gonna fit in perfectly with all the holiday music from the Skaggs family, Tanya Tucker, and the rest of the cool yule discs. Don't stuff a stocking, though; listen to it as soon as you get it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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