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Liz Carlisle

Five Star Day – 2005 (Wildground Publishing)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Liz Carlisle

At an age - barely old enough to vote - Liz Carlisle has managed not only to navigate the culture shock of leaving her native Big Sky Country home in Montana for college life at Harvard and the vibrant Boston folk music scene, she's managed to synthesize it all into a body of original work that displays a remarkable lyrical intelligence.

Whether writing about the "silver blue sky" of her native land ("Montana"), potentially life-changing decisions that appear out of the blue ("Don't Think Too Hard") or growing up in "Flyover Country" ("9/8 Central"), Carlisle's writing is crisp and insightful beyond her years and totally absent the narcissism and introspection that so often afflicts the modern singer-songwriter crowd. Though able to convey her own feelings, she's also adept at putting herself into the shoes of others ("Feels Like Home") whose experiences she may only be able to guess at, but she's convincing nonetheless.

On top of this, Carlisle's vocal style is strong and clear, reminiscent of the likes of Karla Bonoff, an unaffected style with touches of the country music of her Montana youth that suggest she's just being herself, and not a stylized "singer-songwriter." Here's hoping she keeps it up.