When my girlfriend, now wife, and I went to see Ray LaMontagne perform a solo acoustic show at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, we didn’t know if there would be an opening act or not. We were pleasantly surprised when this skinny, freckled, blond, Midwestern girl took the stage and belted out some of the best backcountry folk I have heard in a long time. The crowd was silent through her whole amazing set. At times she reminded me of modern folksters such as Alela Diane or Marissa Nadler, but there was something so old school about her. When I closed my eyes and listened I could have sworn I was listening to someone much older…someone like Roseanne Cash, Lucinda Williams or even Loretta Lynn. She had my complete attention through her whole set.
Before Ray came on we went to the lobby to grab a drink and Lissie was at her booth selling her EP, Why You Runnin’. While I was in the ridiculously slow moving line for beer and wine, I had my wife go buy the vinyl version of the EP. Her and Lissie spoke for a bit and I could overhear their conversation from my place in line. She was so appreciative of all the praise she was getting from everyone. One thing I remember clearly is someone asking her if she was on itunes. She looked at them like she really was from another time and said ‘uh, I don’t know…probably?’. It was a funny moment that has stuck with me.
We brought the EP home, with the “Awesome to meet you! Enjoy! I THANK you! Love, Lissie” handwritten on the sleeve and put it with the rest of the albums. Time passed by and we forgot it was there. But I never forgot her performance.
Well, Lissie is now preparing her first full length album for Fat Possum and her name is popping up all over the Internet. It is so good to see her getting the recognition she deserves. I expect she is going to have a huge year this year, and hopefully she stays as humble as she was when we saw her a few months ago.
Now it’s time to put that vinyl on the turntable!