This album, Live at Union Chapel is a conglomeration of brilliant tracks from past albums, along with a few special covers and a whole lot of soul and sincerity that she performed live and acoustic complete with anecdotes and charm.
This woman, with enigmatic and unforgettable style, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks with subtle notes of Grace Slick comes through in the way she interacts with the crowd and the small-town drawl in her grit peppered voice. Raw and stripped back, country vibes mixed with old school rock ‘n’ roll are what this album gives you.
Live albums are always phenomenally raw with those little nuances that are only captured in that one version of the song eternally and you eventually get used to the little ambient background noises that you only get with the live recordings and the song doesn’t seem the same without it. It really does take me back to a nostalgic place that I’ve never really experienced back in the 60’s where crowd interaction and genuine talent took precedent, no need for excessive light shows, OTT pyrotechincs and spangly outfits, just talent and tomboyish charm.
Lissie bursts into a strong yet vulnerable rendition of Bully, the opening track on Lissie – Live at Union Chapel, and for me, is reminiscent of the Grease soundtrack, I’m not sure why, maybe it's that lo-fi, nostalgic tint she puts on the music.
This latest release by Lissie on indie record label, Cooking Vinyl was put out late last year and this swiftly followed, it seems to be her most sincere and overtly personal album to date and hints at being an ode to her hazy, lo-fi Californian lifestyle yet simultaneously defying the classic American Dream in Shameless and uncovering this typical image of celebrity and how she wants to defy this and focus on the music instead of this sell out beauty-queen ideal and being smeared across rag mags.
This jaded album presents an older, wiser Lissie and a new chapter to her musical repertoire, still connecting her soulful country music to her roots. This opposition of soulful vocals, a gritty edge, that I first discovered when hearing her Metallica cover of Nothing Else Matters in which she made it her own completely, a mix of all this and total sincerity displays itself differently throughout the album, ranging from completely stripped back basic guitar with a focus on vocals and a more rocky, country vibe. She seems to be a very chilled out, low maintenance, picking up on the expectations of females in the public eye. When listening to Hero you get this sense of empowerment and a tale of hard choices and decisions, but when I listened to this track, it struck me that it’d be the perfect winding down, road tripping across Nevada type playlist. Whereas When I’m Alone is a beautifully modest track whilst still a stunning example of her phenomenal breakdown of pure vocal skill and control.
As the album rolls on, the tracks and tales unfold, as if she’s slowly allowing herself to trust the audience and open up, in They All Want You she possesses this melancholic yet sensual, raw and vulnerable feel all at the same time, revealing what she wants, but also what she’s afraid of, it’s an overpowering contrast with the other strong-willed anthems this album encapsulates.
Female empowerment and equality seem to be very prominent themes running through this album, she talks about this as an introduction to Daughters, at the end of Oh Mississippi and it’s nice to hear a modest and genuine introduction about such poignant and relevant topics. Funnily enough, the cover that is featured on the album, is of none other than Joni Mitchell herself, River, which ties in perfectly with the rest of the tracks so well it could be her own. She gives us a little closure on this recent musical endeavour with the closing track In Sleep, darker lyricism but oddly upbeat in tempo, leaves us wanting more but with just enough.
This girl would be able to captivate an audience in a humble spit and sawdust pub or onstage Live at Union Chapel, to end this little round up, her latest cover of Bonnie Raitt to give you the feels and for your last little hit of Lissie’s enrapturing versatility that to me fits in with the theme of this entire album.. I Cant Make You Love Me
Review by Sadie Fox