'To & Fro’ by Liz de Lise - a necessary intense edge(February 11, 2015)
Something grabs you when ‘To & Fro’ by Liz de Lise begins to play –songs with narratives that move between a sense of fateful acceptance and a downright refusal to compromise. Songs that tell tales suffused with experience, some of it not so good. Songs mixed equally with hard earned-understanding and a fearlessly frank dose of humour. Nothing is held back, nothing dressed up. Struggle, endeavour and resilience walk hand-in-hand, each story standing or falling on its merits. Much of its power comes from the Liz de Lise’s brand of Americana folk blending tradition with innovation, and of course her uniquely absorbing voice, which adds a necessary intense edge.
And the result is ‘To & Fro’ – its genesis an undergraduate student research-grant from Connecticut College, and its essence watching and listening as ‘street kids’ passed through Portland. Combining those elements with acutely perceptive observation, Liz de Lise turned her songwriting skills towards interpreting the tales the kids shared. She writes with an honesty to deliver truths that you cannot ignore. The powerful messages of songs like ‘Ode’, ‘Homeless’, ‘Strangers’ and‘The End’ make you part of hard hitting, reflective, profoundly sad echoes from young people cutting their own path, by accident, choice or intention.
‘To & Fro’ is an album sharing words that have to be heard.
Reviewer: Tom Franks