Lissie "My Wild West"

Sometimes even the most promising relationships collapse in on themselves, leaving behind broken promises and faded dreams. The only healthy choice one has is to pick yourself up and redirect your future. Lissie Maurus arrived in California, Los Angeles specifically, in order to pursue her dream of a music career. Although she experienced success early on the relationship with the music industry and California soured. My Wild West is Lissie’s coming to terms with the ending of the affair and the beginning of a new approach to her musical future.

Lissie, as she is known, is all freckles and corn-silk hair. She looks like the Midwest girl she is, but her voice is whiskey soaked and resonant. You won’t find acoustic guitars and tinkling piano on her album as much as you will find layered production reminiscent of 1980s Fleetwood Mac. My Wild West begins with an atmospheric instrumental, and then rolls into “Hollywood,” a ballad that summarizes her disillusionment. In 2008 Lissie was tapped to be the opening act for Lenny Kravitz. Her 2010 debut Catching a Tiger featured guest appearances by Tom Waits and Modest Mouse. This auspicious beginning was followed by a less successful sophomore release and an unraveling of the dream.

Many of the My Wild West’s songs capture the sense of naivety that fueled her move to Los Angeles and the desperation that came with dealing with a music industry in flux. Other songs suggest the allure of California – “Ojai” - and an unflagging optimism in the future – “Don’t You Give Up On Me.” Lissie’s songs are beautifully constructed, her lyrics thoughtful. Perhaps her separation from the music industry is due to a conflict in values. If the music industry deems success as fame and money then great artists are often not viewed as successful. Lissie doesn’t fit that mode of success, but maturity brings a clearer vision of what she does want from her music. In 2014 she declared herself an independent artist and left California for a farm in Iowa where she is building a studio. There, away from the fickle whims of “the industry” she’ll pursue her music, and that is something to look forward to.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)

 

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