Have you ever searched down the side of the sofa, hoping to find a bit of loose change? Occasionally when this happens, digging really deep can result in you hitting the mother lode. This is how I discovered Lissie. Despite releasing albums and EPs since 2007, it was only very recently that I’d stumbled upon her 2015 release My Wild West. Absolutely thrilled by my discovery, I decided to dig a little deeper and was excited to discover a back-catalogue that matched the quality of this album.
For example, My Wild West immediately transports you to a balmy Laurel Canyon evening and songs such as Don’t You Give Up On Me possess a heady mix of Stevie Nicks vocals along with Lissie’s own inimitable spirit and energy. As I dug deeper then, it came as no surprise to find that she has actually recorded a rather sublime version of Go Your Own Way.
This leads us to Live at Union Chapel, which has been released this week on all platforms. The record gathers together many of her finest songs, but unlike the elegantly produced albums they originate from, Union Chapel presents them in an intimately acoustic package with Lissie performing solo. Although her vocals on previous records have already demonstrated a disarming emotional impact, the stripped back sound really accentuates their range and quality. When I’m Alone is the perfect example. The version on 2010s Catching a Tiger is a big, bold pop song with a soaring chorus that emphasises the Fleetwood Mac comparisons. The song recorded in Union Chapel is a more fragile affair, hopeless perhaps, with a more poignant flavour throughout. The chorus possesses a distinctly more mournful tone.
The more exposed approach to the live album also provides a bit of context to previous songs. Daughter is a case in point and there is a lengthy preamble explaining the uplifting inspiration for the song, before launching into a compelling rendition of the track. With only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment, it highlights the passionate strength of her glorious vocals completely.
What this record confirms if you’re yet to discover this singer-songwriter from Illinois is that there’s no finer way to start your own dig down the back of the proverbial sofa. It will no doubt inspire your own Lissie quest, but if you really want to experience the true emotional impact of Live at Union Chapel, the best way to achieve this will be to see her live. Lucky for us then that she is touring the UK for the next fortnight with pal Teddy Thompson. Get digging!
Nov 29, 2016 – Old Fruitmarket – Glasgow, United Kingdom +
Nov 30, 2016 – Manchester Academy 2 – Manchester, United Kingdom +
Dec 1, 2016 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, United Kingdom +
Dec 3, 2016 – O2 Institute2 – Birmingham, United Kingdom +
Dec 4, 2016 – Wedgewood Rooms – Portsmouth, United Kingdom +
Dec 6, 2016 – Koko – London, United Kingdom +
Dec 7, 2016 – Concorde 2 – Brighton, United Kingdom +
Dec 8, 2016 – Waterfront – Norwich, United Kingdom +
Dec 10, 2016 – Guildhall – Gloucester, United Kingdom +
Dec 11, 2016 – The Glee – Cardiff, United Kingdom +
Dec 12, 2016 – Leadmill – Sheffield, United Kingdom +
Dec 14, 2016 – Rescue Rooms – Nottingham, United Kingdom +
Dec 16, 2016 – Cosmopolite – Oslo, Norway
Dec 17, 2016 – Stavangeren – Stavanger, Norway
Dec 18, 2016 – Festivieten – Haugesund, Norway
+ with Teddy Thompson
Follow updates from Lissie here.
Piece by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto