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Lizz Wright - The Orchard

2008-03-13 09:10
Ever walked into an empty place, sat down, and just couldn't stop crying? There are songs about that feeling here. And also about facing pain with the hope of those brave enough to refuse to give up on love. "In this river of faces, in this in this new ... I will lose all your traces. I'll go and find another angel."

There is always "Another Angel". And Lizz finds the lightness in the heavy moments too. She takes the mickey out of a crush with a chunky version of Ike & Tina’s "Idolize you" (easily overheard here as "Analyze you") and reinvents Zep’s otherworldly ballad "Thank You" as something hesitant...but pained. And look out for her sassy but deep single, "My Heart" (featuring Caleico's Joey Burns & John Convertinio) which in a just world would hit the top chart spot.
Every song feels like it belongs to Lizz when she sings it. Whether it's an 'original' (co-written with Toshi Reagon mostly) or one of the three covers on the disk, she shapes it to tell her story. The mostly bare, heartfelt arrangements are fused by Chris Bruce's awesome acoustic guitar and dusted with just enough modern sheen and transatlantic charm to bring old school back. This plays a big part in making The Orchard a gorgeous acoustic soul must-have. But the album’s brilliance is about more than that. It’s also due to the way Lizz redefines the sound of songs, remaining part of a Diaspora defined not by a style, not by race, not by money or anything else, but by some shared feeling that can be endlessly re-expressed. Blues – and not stylistic roots – is what links the material on this album.

The result is ageless but fresh, classic but polished muisc you can feel proud to play. To put it another way: Lizz Wright belongs in a shout-out. And what’s the bet she’ll be cited as an influence by some future star, one day not too far away from now?

- Jean Barker

Lizz Wright’s got the universal blues, and she sings them with her soul bared. Maybe that’s why her third album is just as good as the first two.

What to read next: Kalahari

Gu2 2008-03-17 05:39 PM
A soul jazz jam indeed You hit the nail on it's head with "My Heart"- in a just world it would hit the top chart spot indeed. It's a funky bluesy upbeat jam that hits you where it should - your heart. Absolutely beautiful song. Lovely album.

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