Liz Longley On Unknown Sundays 2023

Liz Longley, Berklee College of Music graduate, referred to the song creation of her record, Weightless, as though she had freed the songs from the walls of her apartment.  I think it is a visual and mindful image of the self-torturing nature of that creative process, but also the beauty that the finished product can exhale. Weightless and Liz Longley deserve a deep breath in, and a long listen, as there is a lot there between her apartment walls.

In 2011, the album, Hot Loose Wire, drew my attention because of the solitary singer-songwriter’s balance.  The opening track ‘When You’ve Got Trouble’ might have been one of the best written and thematic recordings of 2011 for female and/or male. Fast forward, and this new recording has given her the comfort and ability to expand her musical reach, which truly is worthy of the space. It is always the true mark of talent to be able to perform genuinely on a solitary stage.

She has drawn comparisons, and rightfully so on this new record to Paula Cole. You’ll know it when you hear it, but if you go back over her recordings you will realize how she is not a copycat, but a scholar to sound, a truthful sound, captured either in the raw–or in the careful ensemble production of a studio, which righteously preserved the singer-songwriter’s vocal touch and tone that truly connects with each song.

She has the sensibility of a country artist, the vocal range that slides beautifully between folk and adult contemporary, and the gift of lyric that gives her the freedom to roll seamlessly beyond the confines of categories. It is also a gift–a talent–to creatively adapt classic covers as she has woven into her recordings (ie: Moondance, River).

Liz maybe has not reached that musical moment on the air waves, but if you’re searching beyond the radio, like we are always here, you’ll find a wonderful, very keen musician and songwriter.  I would imagine that this new album will breath incredible life into live session, making her a sought-after act. Her entire catalog is worth a weekend’s spin on the digital turntable of your chosen music service.  Now, if we could just get those records stores around these parts to stock up on that back catalog, I could get her into already crowded “L” section.

 

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Merchandise Albums in my collection:  Weightless (2016), Liz Longley (2015),  Hot Loose Wire (2010)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on January 23rd, 2017.  Liz’s last album, 202o’s Funeral for My Past, was a very nice showcase of vocal beauty featuring gospel emotion, unabashed singing and wavering with hints of contemporary adult athems and Americana, but mostly a definitive look back and ending like feel that was absolutely genuine and heartfelt.  In that time since (which was around the time of parting of record label ways, which was probably self-evident) she gave a little Christmas EP with 17 minutes, which for me as a hater of Christmas albums was just right in time and balance, and she made an acoustic version of the aforementioned record as well.  Looking back on my discovery of her, it was the raw unpredictability of the vocal and the ability to skip in and out of different arrangements, making her voice something different from powerful to storytelling Americana.  It’s still there, and worth your exploration in the music multiverse.  While there’s contemporary for that radio record-company sale bullshit, the real gems are in the rambas, the passionate folk-rock swagger surprises, ballad Americana, and the crunching gospel blues boutes.  The Nashville based singer-songwriter who started this professional music journey back in 2007 with Take You Down is still a stunning vocalist, smart, and definitively connected to her music and the creation and delivery of it.  She has a new EP coming out in 2024, It’s Me Again, which apparently means the funeral of her past she didn’t attend.  Good for her!  

She’s going to be closest to us, here at Beyond Your Radio, in Syracuse at 443 Listening Room on March 17th, a Sunday, which feels like one of those great intimate showcases.  Weather permitting and a long weekend maybe we will see you there, as we’ve not had the pleasure of witnessing her music in the flesh. – Mark Kuligowski  [December 3rd, 2023]

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