Let me set the scene: close your eyes and pretend it’s not spring. It’s a grey day, mid-fall, the leaves are changing, winter’s coming, there’s a chill in the air. You turn your collar up at the wind. Hopefully you have Nashville singer-songwriter Liza Anne’s new record, TWO cued up.
Like fall there’s a beautiful melancholy haunting much of Liza Anne’s sophomore record. Her heart may not actually be broken but you’d never know it by listening to “Lost” the lead track off TWO.
“I’ll be damned if I do it, damned if I don’t” she sings. You can hear every scratch on the strings of the acoustic guitar as the electric guitar shimmers overhead. A banjo plucks quietly while a cello hums in the background. This is a sublime opening.
Interestingly, Liza Anne’s first record was titled The Colder Months – and she describes her music as melancholic, so maybe I’m on to something.
This young lady has quite a future. Brought into the world on a small island off the Georgia coast (near Savannah) a mere 21 years ago as Liza Odachowski, she is now based in Nashville. TWO is slated for independent release May 19 (tomorrow!!) and was recorded in Nashville with producer Zachary Dyke (COIN), and mixed/mastered by Chad Wahlbrink (Joseph LeMay, the Soil & the Sun).
It’s a remarkably mature release for a 21 year-old and the collage of seven songs takes broken fragments of artists like City and Colour, The National, Beth Orton, Glen Hansard, First Aid Kit, Feist and glues them back together for 27 atmospheric minutes.
The Leslie Feist comparison is obvious, at least on the lead single Take It Back – but it would be a mistake to simply paint Liza with the Feist brush. There’s a classic feel to her voice and music – Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie comes to mind. In fact Take It Back wouldn’t sound out-of-place dropped in the middle of FWM’s 1987 record Tango In the Night.
Liza’s voice is lush, at times breathless like Cat Power, and on songs like Lost, or Ocean it aches with loneliness and despair, only to bounce back and let a little sun in on the single and Low Tide.
People say I sound like …
Sharon Van Etten, Feist and Daughter, (pinch me, those ladies are my queens).
I am originally from …
Saint Simons Island, GA.
What music has influenced your sound?
I started listening to The Cranberries and Joni Mitchell at a really young age, so I’d say those are the two most obvious. More recently, I’ve gravitated towards Jessica Lea Mayfield, Lady Lamb and obviously Feist – she is my number one.
Tell us about your live show …
For me, there’s two types of live show. There’s the shows where it’s just me and my guitar – tearing every song down to its rawest state, emotionally ranting over quieted melodies and minimal instrumentation. Then, there’s when I play with my band – the energy is different then. I enjoy it so much, it makes me feel less alone in singing all my secrets and things.
What’s the most difficult part of being a part of the music business?
How does the city’s musical history, or landscape influence your sound?
I’m not sure, any place influences my music. I have to move to create, so initially the move to Nashville inspired a lot. But, now I’m antsy to move again, that’s why I keep on the road.
What influences you lyrically?
Absolutely every corner of every thing and every emotion.
I read you describe your debut record The Colder Months as “melodramatic” and even describe yourself as “sad”. Are you really sad and dramatic or just introspective?
I’m completely dramatic and sometimes sad, but all in all, I’m a mess of introversion and constant introspection. So, I guess – if we’re putting things lightly, I’m just introspective.
Photo by Sam Pinkerton
Most memorable gig ever was…
Just recently, I was a part of the Communion club night in NYC. The room was so full, everyone was so quiet – I’ve never been more humbled.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music …
Oh, I have no idea. Probably Limerick, Ireland in 1990. The Cranberries formed then – I want them to adopt me, so – it only makes sense.
Growing up, at home I listened to …
The Cranberries, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles and a whole lot of hymns.
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation …
Don’t Give A Fuck from Big Sean, Nervous Lonely Night from Jessica Lea Mayfield, Spat Out Spit from Lady Lamb, No Type from Rae Sremmurd, King Kunta from Kendrick. I probably haven’t strayed from that list in the last month.
If you could open for any artist/band …
Feist, of course. But, she isn’t touring. I would want to be a part of something she was doing – her vision for tour and what everything should be like musically and creatively and aesthetically would be inspiring to be close to for a while. Also, I want her to be like my big sister – so, that’s a dream.
If you could only bring ONE record to listen to on tour what would it be?
Depends on the tour, on the month and on the day. I guess, letting it be today, I’d take Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Napping, hiding in a corner of a coffee shop reading… well, probably just napping.
The one thing I want you to remember while you’re listening to my music….
I don’t want to dictate how you walk away from my art, but my hope is that you give yourself the space to feel every emotion you would naturally fall into while listening.
What’s up for 2015/2016?
Hopefully loads and loads of shows. I want everyone to experience TWO live. The dream year would consist of me doing just that. And, obviously writing for the next full length or whatever the next catalogue of things turns into.