Musicians flock to the closest big city and cling to it, often using it as a declaration of identity. Matt Skiba associates more nowadays with Chicago and San Francisco than his McHenry roots. Josh Caterer continues to embrace Carpentersville for both his Duvall and Smoking Popes days. Lissie acknowledges and entwines with her Rock Island roots and its moonlit Mississippi banks. As with all resilient, creative youth in small towns and cities, Lissie's defiant essence tossed and tasseled her to Colorado State University, Paris, Los Angeles, Ojai, and Tennessee before settling-for now-along the Thames. The one unknown locale being a quiet town of 8,000 in California where she rented a previously unseen farmhouse.Catching a Tiger is all that is occurring in the United Kingdom with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine, and Laura Marling but firmly planted in the blonde fields of America. Implanting Americana and country in quickened, indie rock lend an authenticity to undeniable songs akin to handcrafted tools. They have the tender care and consideration at the core, and Lissie's songs are as durable due to her ability to swiftly meander amidst music styles. "Stranger" stands out like a time-warped truck stop oasis with a brightness reminiscent of late 1950s pop. Lissie distorts this classic with an alternate universe use of lyrics decreeing independence replacing the tales of diner and classic car swooning romance.
Lissie managed to sow the seeds of country music acquiring new fans in borrowing and returning the sugar of pop, the rope and trucks of country with the resilient handicraft of indie rock. "Loosen the Knot" blends an element of Tegan & Sara's ridged vocals with Lissie's songwriting, leading straight into the phenomenal pop of "Cuckoo." It provides a perfect one-two punch that convinced this writer to reconsider his country ban; an element only select artists achieve in a listener's ear.
Catching a Tiger had its reign over the United Kingdom prior to its release in the United States this week. With her hard-fought, wandering backstory and an undeniable vocal and guitar talent, her debut should assure a warm welcome home when she returns to Illinois' riverbanks, city lights, lake shores, and starry nights.