Album Review – Little Lisa Dixie

April 6, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  22 Comments

With her first self-titled album, ===> Little Lisa Dixie <=== is helping make the case that in independent/underground country, 2011 might be the year of the woman. With surprisingly good, classic songwriting, excellent use of texture, and solid instrumentation, she has made the album that her fans have waited years for be one that is well worth the wait.

This album is part country, part hot-rod rockabilly, with a vintage feel covering everything in the tones and textures. I can’t emphasize enough the wit and appreciation for the classic model of how to turn a phrase in a country song that is illustrated in some of these tracks. The song “Stop Acting Like a Lady” works to juxtapose the scorned woman with man just like Loretta Lynn did back in the day. This is done to even more perfection in “Getting Over You”.

The only way I’m getting over you is by getting under him.

But where I was really impressed with this song is when she entered the chorus, she did not go back to the catchy hook, she replaces it with the much more docile “The only way to get over you is by loving him tonight“, just like the greats used to do. This shows that Little Lisa hasn’t just heard Loretta and Tammy, she’s listened to them, intently, and understood and embraced the thematic virtues behind their songs.

But if classic country is not your speed and you want a little rockabilly, this album has you covered as well. “Devil’s Gate” is a monster of a song, marinated in reverb, powder blue, and neon light. This song and the other rockabilly-feeling “Dance With The Devil” have sublime, masterful combinations of bright and dark-sounding chords that pull your ear right into the music as the words sell your soul on the story.

I’m not going to try to sell you on the idea that Little Lisa Dixie has one of the best female voices going, but it is solid, and she knows how to use what she has, by knowing just how long to hold a note, or when to shut it off in phrasing. And for a femme voice, it is naturally deep, which gives it that retro sexiness, almost a musk that fits the music exquisitely. Little Lisa picked the type of music that fits her voice, which is not a common as you would think in music, especially for women.

To be fair, the album may have a couple of punch out tracks for some. “Stoned Again” doesn’t really move the needle for me. The lyrics for “Woke Up Broke” seem a little cliche, but the super-twang on the Telecaster-style guitar and Lisa’s vocal phrasing are almost good enough in the song to overlook it’s lyrical lightweightedness. The vision and arrangement on this album is great. The reverb and echo is drenching, but not overindulged, and little details were not overlooked, like the horn and bells in “Dance With The Devil”. To some the album may sound a little dirty. I heard a few forgivable flubs that speak to tracked-out recording, but I think a lot of attention was paid by Little Lisa and friends to set a vintage mood, and the right specific vintage mood for each song, and once you embrace this, it enhances the songs instead of holding them back.

If you like ladies that aren’t afraid to let loose, Little Lisa Dixie is your girl.

1 3/4 of 2 guns up!

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Little Lisa Dixie on Amazon

Little Lisa Dixie on CD Baby

(Little Lisa will be on Outlaw Radio Chicago tonight (4-6-11) on SCM LIVE at 8 PM Central)

22 Comments to “Album Review – Little Lisa Dixie”

  • Trigger, as you know I have been a fan of LLD for almost 3 years. I have never been so proud to know not only the artist but the person as well. LLD has given her blood sweat tears and life to finally getting this CD out. Now I am not going to go giving my song by song review because for me a few of the songs have been staples in my ears for a couple years. I will say what I think of the album as a whole, because that is what it is, a whole collection of songs from an amazing gal. LLD has a voice that nobody else has in our “genre”. It’s amazing, but for me it wasnt even fully represented or showcased on this album. LLD has put together a great mixture of songs and they are all WELL WORTH multiple spins…everyday! I myself could be committing podcaster suicide here but I think what is missing from this album is LLD’s attitude, passion, and pain. If it had been produced to showcase her voice this album would already be my pick for album of the year! It’s a great album and for those who dont know much about LLD is a great package to introduce her to the world… to those of us that know LLD on a deeper level (some would say that a few of us are obsessed) we know that LLD has 10X more to offer us on the next go round. If you think about it.. that is a good thing. Most artists put it all out there on their first album and its tough to come up with a sophomore project as good as the first… LLD though left some in her bag and thats a good thing.. that means that there is much much more to come from LLD in the future. This is a great album and well worth the 3 year wait, but for those select few we know that LLD is only starting what is to be a great career!

    • Wow Blake, those are some good thoughts. I would defer to you as more of an expert on Little Lisa, because I’m pretty sure your show is where I first heard her. Not being as familiar what she is capable of, I can really only go off this album, but I will say I poked around YouTube to see if there was an appropriate video for the review (like one of the songs from the album, etc.) and I was more impressed with her voice on the live recorded stuff. I don’t want to say that she held back on the album, but I agree, the best from Little Lisa might be yet to come. And maybe sensing that is the reason I didn’t give her the full two guns up.

  • I ‘ll keep it short and simple I fucking love this album

  • This little lisa dixie has the variety that i would’ve like to see rachel brooke use more on her last album which i found great but in which a few faster song would’ve made me appreciate the whole album more……by listening the tracks preview….this album might be my favourite release so far in 2011…it’s a very good surprise

    • I totally understand and anticipated that people would judge Little Lisa and Rachel Brooke against each other. I tried to resist doing that in my review, even though it wanted to creep in there, trust me. Ultimately I am not sure if this is fair to either artist. Not saying you’re not being fair. It is totally understandable, they are both young, dark songstresses that start with just them and their guitar. I just see the two’s music in two completely different contexts.

      I’ve noticed that with female artists, they are more often judged against each other. I’m not sure why that is.

      • Because there’s fewer of them.

      • Well first of all i don’t want to judge both against each other…i would never want to start somekind of war between those two but it was stronger than me..my main point was…and i’ve should have mentionned it that way to make it clearer……little lisa dixie’s album is probably easier to listen for average listeners like me…..i love Rachel brooke’s last album it’s really awesome but her album is the kind of album that may take a while to really appreciate it. I don’t say that one is better or worse thant the other, i was comparing their accessibility. Maybe i compared them because thay are women…but to me it’s more because of their similar approach ,the only man i know that i could compare to them both would be lonesome wyatt who use that kind of style to a higher level….i would never compare nellie wilson with rachel brooke or six gun britt with LLD who are at miles aways from each other…now that would’ve been unfair i guess…

        • but you probably know music better than me…if i said something you find wrong about either of those albums don’t be shy to say it, i love being criticise…i love sharing opinion and discuss. that what makes posting comments fun ;)

        • No Pagoul, I wasn’t insinuating that you were trying to start anything on purpose or inadvertently. I more just curious why we always want to compare female artists. I think Blue Ribbon is on to something, but I think it goes deeper than that. And I admit myself it is something I do.

  • I’ve been waiting for this album (or any album from LLD) ever since I first heard her on Myspace about 3 years ago. Happy as hell it’s finally out.

  • It’s even better than House Party 3.

  • It’s a little hard to get the full grip of her songs from the samples but I think her Cheating Games ( the first I ever heard from her) song is kick ass.

    Great blog Triggerman. Powder blue! That made me smile.

    • You will hear full songs tonight on Outlaw Radio, and than you will want to buy the full length.

      • I’m looking forward to it Jahshie. I like what I heard from the samplings but I have a feeling they do not do her justice.

      • Very cool Jashie P. I’m so glad y’all archive so you can go back later and enjoy.

  • Her voice is awesome. She sounds like a bad girl. Nice use of =====> arrows too!

  • Sweetheart gal, great artist, excellent 1st CD and a very well written review! LL is coming this way soon, and we’re looking forward to it.

  • This sounds really good! Funds are short, but I’ll be picking this up in due time.

  • Good Shit!! I love her style and look forward to seeing her on the road in the near future.

  • Good job Lisa and Andrew. Sounds good! Who played steel?

    • Johnny Allan: Acoustic/Electric Guitars
      John Bozarth: Acoustic Bass
      Saul McCormack: Drums
      Howard Parker: Pedal Steel Guitar
      Ira Gitlin: Banjo
      Morgan Wood: Fiddle

  • I have known LLD for a while and I have to say that she is nothing but talented in every way,a player, a singer, a writer, a person. The cd is awesome ! Andrew did a great job as well did all the players. Nothing but great things to come from her !!

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