Lissie – Why You Runnin’ Lissie – Why You Runnin’

Lissie - Why You Runnin'

Lissie - Why You Runnin'

A stereotypical small town girl has an air of innocence about her. She is candy sweet, unknowingly ignorant, and full of simplistic dreams. It’s hard to escape the reputation that builds in someone’s mind about a townie girl from the country. As an artist you can take this character and market it, CMT country stars like Taylor Swift are nominated for several upcoming Grammys romanticizing these stereotypes. Whether or not Taylor Swift is talented, which is hard to say she isn’t, the truth about the small town girl “trying to make it” is very different in reality. It’s a lot more like Lissie Maurus (aka Lissie). The girls that have made it out of the Americana ideal, out of Rock Island Illinois, out of thousands of other same town, different name places are motivated and rebellious. To escape the padded room of comfort takes something different. Even with the looming blandness of staying, you never fully forget where you came from once you’ve left. When listening to Lissie’s debut 5 track EP, Why you Runnin’, there is a combination of bitter-sweet memories of Midwestern culture, and a mature reflection of the life she has lived up until now in Ojai, California.

In California, Lissie gave support to the saying, “it’s all about who you know.” Produced by the bassist of Band of Horses, Bill Reynolds, and the indie label, Fat Possum Records, this EP is making its touring debut as part of the opening act for Ray Lamontagne’s tour benefiting the National Children’s Cancer Society. The EP’s pre-released single “Little-Lovin’” doesn’t give Lissie enough credit, and is almost apathetic sounding which contradicts the usual passion in her voice. The song, “Oh Mississippi” reminds you of being in fifth grade and listening to the old Percy Montrose ballad “Oh My Darling, Clementine,” or stepping into a Baptist church mid choir. Obligatory criticism already said, the song “Wedding Bells,” a Hank Williams cover is brilliant. Not every female musician can take a song originally made from the male perspective and bring you to empathy. Lissie’s lyrics in the songs “Everywhere I Go,” and “Here Before” add intrinsic meaning to her songwriting through existentialism and self- analysis.

What Lissie needs to be careful doing is how she defines herself and her experiences. Her bio and many reviews, only cater to stories that relate her to the poverty-stricken communities you stumble into along a salesman route to the rustic Midwest. Which supports her musical style, as if you’re listening to a biased news story on FOX, “Music Business Saves Girl from Poverty.” Lissie’s brother and sister went to Northwestern, and even though she got kicked out of high school for spitting on an administrator, she did attend college in Colorado before entering the music scene in LA. A city where she has explored avenues outside of this genre, such as collaborating with the Grammy-nominated electro house DJ Morgan Page to create an uncanny country-dance remix of “The Longest Road.”

Whether it is Lissie, the record company, or the fans, forcing this particular image almost makes her seem phony. So be real. There are still plenty of stories that exude to how Lissie made her dream a reality.

Lissie - Why You Runnin', reviewed by Bootsie on 2009-12-15T15:51:34-08:00 rating 3.2 out of 5

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