Lissie – Live At Union Chapel

lissie-live-union-chapel-album-reviewLissie’s new album, Live at Union Chapel, follows hot on the heels of her latest studio album, My Wild West which was released earlier this year.

Her most personal album to date, My Wild West is a fitting tribute to Lissie’s life in California, from her arrival as a fresh-faced singer-songwriter to now, leaving for the Midwest wiser and more self-assured.

When I first heard about a Lissie solo acoustic album, the prospect didn’t immediately sit well with me, sure, she has the songs, but I immediately thought of her albums, their “plugged in” greatness, and wondered what the stripped back version would sound like.

By the time second track ‘Shameless’ finishes it has put all such thoughts and concerns to bed. The song very quickly establishes Lissie can still project the same rock credentials as her full, plugged in show (complete with crowd participation).

But it is on tracks like ‘Sun Keeps Risin’’ where the power of her vocal, and skill as a performer comes to bare. Her ability to captivate and hold an audience on her every breath, every delicately selected note is palpable through this recording.

Complete with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ this 13 track album is a sublime slice of singer-songwriter joy. The production on Live At Union Chapel is superb, and excepting the crowd applause at the end of each track and minimal chat from Lissie, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a studio recording.

From the first notes to the last Lissie’s voice is immaculate, and the Union Chapel setting and acoustic backdrop illustrate it perfectly – check out ‘Oh, Mississippi’ as a great example of this. Whilst there are no theatrics or overly complex instrumental moments, the result is all the greater for it; illustrating just how good this arguably underrated (or should that be under-the-radar?) songwriter is.

Given my initial misgivings, I’m (admittedly pleased to say) this is quickly becoming my favourite release from Lissie to date.

Gareth Fraser

Editor of Musicscramble. Obsessed with music from a young age, over 1000 gigs under his belt, a serious record collecting habit, a love of concert photography and alphabetising his CD collection.

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