Liz de Lise on the road


When someone says local music I instantly think of some punk rock band that plays basement shows with their cult following…of like 26 sweaty friends. Sometimes I think of classic rock cover band called 40 lb Head. Also, I think of an oldies band called The Starfires who were popular in this area in the 1960’s but still perform.

Anyway, there are many local bands in NEPA. However, in recent years I think of the words “local music” in a new light.

To me local music doesn’t just have to be from NEPA. It can be from as far away as Philadelphia. That’s where folk singer/songwriter Liz de Lise resides. Around last October our campus station 90.7 WCLH started playing two songs from Liz’s debut EP titled To & Fro. Those songs are called “Ode” and “Strangers.” Over Christmas break, according to our station manager Kristen Rock, some callers were wondering who sang those songs and where to find the album.

As soon as the semester began Rebecca Filipski, our Alternative Director, and I got an email forwarded to us from Liz de Lise. She had asked what show on our station would be best fit for her to come in for an interview and perform a small acoustic set. Naturally, my “Indie Flavour” show on Wednesdays 3-5 pm was the best fit as I often play folk music along with indie rock.

We has quickly agreed to April Fool’s Day being the day she would come in. Unfortunately some things fell through on her end, but miraculously she was able to come up the next day since she was playing a show that night in Clarks Summit. It was last minute, but everything turned out fantastic.

She’s a young musician with a lot of talent thanks to a family of musical background. Not only does she play guitar, but she can play violin as she told me during the live on air interview. “Ode” is the first song on the EP and also one of my favorite songs of 2014 without a doubt. “And I dream of pirates and hippies galore!.” It has a very unique “gypsy-folk” vibe to it. I get images of sailing on the open seas with my best friends.

“Home/less” is a very pleasant slow ballad featuring Liz’s vocals at the forefront with a violin. At times it has a very “live” sound to it and might give you the feeling like she’s singing it at the top of a hill at someone’s outside casual dinner party. It also reminds me a little of Fiona Apple and Christina Perri.

“Pan” is the sort of song that sounds great around the campfire. It has that tribal element to it. The backup vocals shine wonderfully. The lack of instruments isn’t an issue, and in fact makes it very interesting with the minimalistic approach. Vocals are the most powerful instrument here.

“Strangers” is another favorite with listeners. It evokes dreams of joining in with a band that is walking through the streets of a foreign country like Italy or France trying to have random locals join in with them. “Star Fire” is a really cool track. Just like some of her other songs, this too features an accordion. The lyrics tell a neat story. “Ain’t it strange, either way we live we’re always beggin’ for change.”

In the song she also names the city of Portland, which is where most of her songs were inspired from since staying there one summer as an undergraduate at Connecticut College to observe and interview the street kids. At some point while there she kind of witnessed filming of the show Portlandia, and was unknowingly a few feet from Fred Armisen who stars in the show. Lastly, “The End” provides for a relaxing end to a very well produced debut album from Liz de Lise.

She was the first singer I had on my show for an interview and performance. Liz is a very genuine person with a story to tell. We were only her second radio station that she has appeared live on as she begins what I hope is a long and successful journey. Did I mention she just came back from an oversees trip in Armenia?! Anyway, check her music out on Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, iTunes, and her own website. You won’t be disappointed. I give To & Fro  4 out of 5 stars.