When I hear Lissie Maurus' music I imagine her walking through the prairies barefoot or sitting on a porch next to a big red barn and a vast expanse of wheat or corn or some other sprawling, hearty crop. That's exactly who she is, and where her music comes from, the land of Lincoln, Rock Island, Illinois. Why You Runnin' the new EP from this mid-western singer songwriter, is a charming morsel of rustic bluegrass folk. Lissie sings about country weddings, broken hearts, and all those good American standards that make for a good American folk song.
The opening track is a spirited bluegrass toe-taper, complete with imagines of "Mississippi moonshine" and Ms. Lissie "crying in a cornfield" with strong bluesy vocals. In contrast, the second track, "Wedding Bells" is a lonely country ballad which transitions well into Oh Mississippi a spiritual for the Mississippi River, very sentimental and melancholy. The last two tracks "Everywhere I Go" and "Here Before" are strikingly different, stepping out of the heavy bluegrass influences into a more personalized ballad rock feel. The mixing of her vocals towards the end of "Here Before" is haunting as the song and the EP slowly drip away into the dark prairie.
Why You Runnin' was recorded in both Lissie's home in Ojai, CA and Echo Mountain Studio in Ashville, NC. Bill Reynolds (of Band of Horses) played a big role in the production of the EP including playing bass on the tracks. Strange as it might sound, Lissie was discovered by Lenny Kravitz when a friend directed him to her Myspace page, and he decided to take her on tour. She is currently on the road with Ray LaMontange (that seems to be a good match up). Why You Runnin' was released earlier in November on Fat Possum. - amelia trask
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MP3: Lissie - "Everywhere I Go" (Why You Runnin)
Lissie on Myspace