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Richards Lisa - Not Quite So Low

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 6 / 8 / 2002

Richards Lisa - Not Quite So Low
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Diverse and "compelling" 18 track retrospective of Australian singer-songwriter now based in Texas, which covers "a wide range of styles from pop and folk to country with a touch of blues and rock thrown in"

Australian Lisa Richards relocated to New York in 1993 and has been based in America since then, moving to Texas in 1998. Lisa released a version of ‘Not Quite So Low’ in 1997 but this version is a compilation of tracks from that album along with some from her second album, ‘Undergroundling, from 2001. Over the 18 tracks here we get to hear Lisa’s powerful vocals cover a wide range of styles from pop and folk to country with a touch of blues and rock thrown in. Vocally Lisa has a somewhat unique voice. It does not immediately sound like anyone else except for a touch of Bjork here and there, most noticeably so on the second track’ I Don’t Think So’. But these are only fleeting moments. It is good to hear a singer who has her own unique voice. Everyone, of course, has their influences and these obviously often spill over into the records they make, so it is refreshing to hear an artist who doesn’t sound like all the rest. On the other hand it makes a reviewer’s job hard! Describing the music Lisa makes is not an easy task. She takes elements of all the above mentioned genres without slotting neatly into any given one of them. Again, this is a good thing and is unusual these days. Some obviously think that they have Lisa’s music tagged onto a certain genre, as she has been a named finalist in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival more than once. But to these ears, at least, it’s a unique road that Lisa travels. The cutting warning to an ex-lover that is ‘ Don’t Tear Me Down’, for example, is a bluesy slab of anger quite unlike anything produced by any singer/songwriter this year, male or female. This is followed on the album by ‘I Can See Love’, an acoustic based ballad where the singer can see the beauty and love in children “playing in the street, in the dusty doorways, in endless heat”. It’s a gentle, reflective song and in complete contrast to the song before it. It shows off Lisa’s talent at taking on different themes and musical styles within the same album and making it seem so natural. From the same song the lines “an open hand means an open heart and if you take my hand and walk with me we can make a new start” illustrate that Lisa is capable of penning tender words as well as the more caustic lyrics to songs such as 'Don’t Tear Me Down'. It springs to mind that the Sheryl Crows of this world would give their right arm to be able to produce an album so diverse yet as captivating as this collection. One can only hope that someday soon Lisa will be given the press and recognition she so rightly deserves on this showing of songs. Surely the recognition she has already gained can only be the beginning. Some might think that an album of 18 songs lasting nearly 70 minutes from an unknown artist might be a little too much in one sitting, but there is so much diversity here and Lisa has such an incomparable and stunning voice that it makes a compelling listen from start to finish.

Track Listing:-
1 So Long
2 I Don't Think So
3 Daisy Chain
4 Rise
5 Don't Tear Me Down
6 I Can See Love
7 Sweet Time
8 Is This Love?
9 Waif
10 Sweet Marie
11 Plain Gold Ring
12 First Kiss
13 Simon
14 Invisible
15 I Won't Complain
16 Everywhere
17 Song For SImon - Goodbye
18 Whiskey Glass

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