released August 17th, 2010
from the album - When I'm Alone
from all music
Lissie Maurus was raised in the riverside town of Rock Island, IL, and she drew upon those blue-collar Midwestern origins to create her own form of indie folk music. After dropping out of high school during her senior year, Lissie headed west and eventually settled in Los Angeles, where she became a fixture on the coffeehouse circuit and landed a national tour opening for Lenny Kravitz. A self-titled EP appeared in 2007, but things truly began picking up speed in 2009, when Lissie released a second EP, the dusky Why You Runnin', and toured the country alongside Ray LaMontagne.
Parts of Why You Runnin' had been recorded in the U.K., and Lissie returned there in early 2010 to promote the release of her first full-length album. Although she made several appearances in America — including a standout performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival — Lissie focused most of her attention on Europe, where the debut record Catching a Tiger was released in June. An American release followed in August, courtesy of Fat Possum Records.
After releasing one of the best EPs of 2009, Lissie broadens her horizons with Catching a Tiger, an album that mixes her dusky California folk-rock with commercial pop. It’s easy to like someone Lissie, a 21st century flower child who surely would’ve been voted “most unique” by her high school classmates if she hadn’t dropped out during senior year. She’s the sort of girl who listened to Patsy Cline records while everyone else was freaking out over Britney Spears, the girl who spent her summer vacations following Phish around while her classmates all went to the beach. As a performer, Lissie brings that same trail-blazing attitude to her music, which is colored by her Midwestern roots and quirky, full-throttled vocals. Few folk singers have a voice as strong as Lissie's, and her sepia-toned croon is easily the best part of this album. On the other hand, few producers know what to do with such a powerful instrument, and Catching a Tiger — whose myriad producers include Jacquire King, Bill Reynolds, Julian Emery, and Ed Harcourt — doesn’t always highlight Lissie’s talent the way Why You Runnin' did. Older songs like “Oh Mississippi” and “Everywhere I Go” take a nicely sparse approach, dressing her vocals with reverb and tambourine snaps in a manner that recalls an alt-country Hope Sandoval. Other songs pile on the instruments to tuneful effect, with “When I’m Alone” taking its cues from Stevie Nicks and “Stranger” looking to the glory days of Phil Spector for inspiration. Where Catching a Tiger falters is in its most polished moments, where the rough edges of Lissie’s voice are sanded down and robbed of their power. But those moments are the exception, not the rule, and this debut only strengthens Lissie's potential to become one of folk music's newest sirens.
1 Record Collector Dodds, Maurus 3:43
2 When I'm Alone Emery, Irvin, Maurus 3:40
3 In Sleep Emery, Irvin, Maurus 4:57
4 Bully Maurus, Ramsey, Reynolds 3:43
5 Little Lovin' Maurus, Petraglia 4:28
6 Stranger Maurus, Meek, Reynolds 3:08
7 Loosen the Knot Emery, Irvin, Maurus 3:29
8 Cuckoo Emery, Irvin, Maurus 3:37
9 Everywhere I Go Maurus, Schneider 4:08
10 Worried About Maurus 4:25
11 Look Away Maurus 4:29
12 Oh Mississippi Harcourt, Maurus 3:22