Liz Carlisle,
Big Dreams
(Wildground, 2007)

When Liz Carlisle graduated from Harvard with a degree in ethnomusicology, she did what every new ethnomusicologist does: she became a country singer. She has the voice for country music. It is good, solid and has strength and character. She's capable of making a standard ballad sound like an unexpected phone call from an old friend.

On this record, though, she is being asked to do too much. She's being asked to compensate for tired, mundane and mechanical arrangements that do not enhance the songs she's singing. Sometimes it sounds as though there's a battle going on between the singer and the band. She's also being asked to sell some weak lyrics in songs that offer no surprise, that offer very little to a listener that can't be found in dozens of other records.

Too many songs cover the same ground: lost love, the road, the road as an answer to lost love. You come away from this CD feeling you've heard it all before. I hope Liz gets another shot at her own big dreams because she deserves it but this one never rises above promising.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

11 August 2007

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