Steve (my fiancée, for those not in the know) walks in the door with one of those familiar
skinny white boxes from Vinyl Collective, and my tastes are expanded once again thanks to the acumen of Suburban Home Records. Suburban Home is a hard-working, small label with a lot of grit and damn good taste; they’re responsible for the unearthing of bands like Two Cow Garage and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, as well as for releasing the solo efforts of Lagwagon’s Joey Cape and Drag The River’s Jon Snodgrass. One of the guys’ most recent acquisitions is none other than the fetching little sis of Kay Kay’s Kirk Huffman, Lizzie Huffman.
I’m fuzzy on Huffman’s back story beyond the obvious fact that her parents deserve a lifetime of high fives for deciding to bear offspring, but what I do know about her is that she is a Seattle-based singer-songwriter with one solo album on her resume: 2010’s Lizzie Huffman and Her Brother Band. That’s right, Kay Kay fans – brother Kirk plays and records with Huffman.
Huffman’s southern-fried folk-pop is perhaps a bit counterintuitive to her West Coast roots, and so well contrived you’d expect to find her kicking up her boots in Nashville. The first moment the record player needle spun over Huffman’s voice, I was honestly blown away. She soulfully and magnetically vocalizes woebegone tales of passion, nerves and infatuation that are plaintive yet conversely empowering. Huffman’s Etta James-esque delivery is laid down amongst a mix of folksy instrumentation like a pair of misfit lovers, but the genre-bending seems genuine and even contemporary.
I tentatively considered submitting this piece on Huffman to RFC’s Love for the Ladies column instead, seeing as Miss Lizzie is such a looker. She is doe-eyed and petite, yet her short black hair, sleeve of tattoos and air of being one of the guys lend a certain kind of alluring edginess. Fellow RFC-er Matthew Voracek claimed in an earlier post that the male writers have a soft spot for ladies with “steely confidence, a gale-wind musical force and all attitude” and who appear on stage “sweaty with an unattainability.” Well boys, I think I have a candidate for you.
There’s so very much to love about Huffman’s lyricism, as well. Admissions of lust (“And every time you come around, your pants get tighter and tattoos just a bit brighter, I’m a mess again, ‘Cause I just want you all over me”) sidle into deeper confessions of longing and personal drama, and the kinds of tunes I wish I knew the story behind (“I’m sure that when her face hit the stairs you weren’t thinking of how much you love me, I’m sure that when her blood ran like tears you weren’t thinking of me like you should”) on “A Night in the Country” and “Heavy Hearts,” respectively.
There’s little more of Huffman to be easily found out in the internet universe as of yet, though she can also be found in some widely viewed YouTube videos alongside Forgiving Durden and in older recordings from her former work in the band Man in the Blue Van. One can only hope she’ll churn out more in the near future, but I deeply encourage you to pick up her release from Suburban Home in the meantime.